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Program Night

Penguins in the Desert by Eric Wagner

  • Program Night
When May 24, 2018
from 07:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m.
Event Location Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church
Street Address 308 4th ave S.
City Kirkland
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Most of us wouldn’t think to look for penguins in a hot desert, but every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is one of the largest penguin colonies in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there. Eric Wagner joined her team for six months, and he will talk about his new book, Penguins in the Desert. In it, he chronicles a season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change? 

Eric Wagner is an environmental writer in Seattle, where he lives with his family. He is the author of Penguins in the Desert, and the co-author, with photographer Tom Reese, of Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish. His essays and journalism have appeared in Audubon, Orion, Smithsonian, Earth Island Journal, and High Country News, among other places, and he has a PhD in Biology from the University of Washington for his work on Magellanic penguins in Argentina.

magellanic penguin by NASA (creative commons)

Photo: Magellanic Penguin by NASA (Creative Commons License)

The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.