This year, a panel of respected and passionate birders will share their expertise, as well as insights gained through the world of birding.

Before the lecture, spread your wings and fly to a pre-reception showcasing the Academy’s birding exhibits. Stop by Conversations With Birds, open through June 4, and preview the Academy’s newest exhibit: Illuminating Birds, officially opening May 20. Refreshments provided!

More info and tickets >>

Nate Swick

Through the wide-reaching and popular American Birding Podcast, Nate Swick has in many respects become the voice of the ABA and perhaps one of the most recognized voices in all the birding world. His excellent, thoughtful, and fun interviews cover a variety of topics of interest to birders and include popular recurring segments like This Month in Birding and the Birding Book Club. The show is consistently among the most highly ranked podcasts in the competitive space of the Nature podcasting sphere.

Also, as a co-host of the ABA’s popular What’s This Bird LIVE web program, and the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Birding and the ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas, Nate’s work has been essential to the ABA’s success in harnessing opportunities to connect with birders everywhere using both old and new media. As if these achievements weren’t enough, Nate’s pun-laced podcast outros have to be just about the most recognized sign-off in all of birding.

Holly Merker

Holly Merker is a professional birding guide, author, and lecturer, with a background in art therapy, but today uses birds and nature towards the same goals delivering nature-based wellness programs for people of all ages. Holly shares her love of birds guiding for the American Birding Association, National Audubon, Hillstar Nature, and many other organizations. She is a Certified Wellness Counselor and Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, weaving birds into both of these fields. Holly is a global advocate for the practice of Mindful Birding, authoring two books which guide readers into optimizing the wellness benefits birds provides us, including the award-winning Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body, and Soul (along with Richard Crossley and Sophie Crossley, Crossley Books, 2021) and Die Kraft Der Vogel Beobachtung – “The Power of Birdwatching” (Freya verlag, 2023), coauthored with Dr. Angelika Nelson. In 2022, Holly was honored to be the recipient of the ABA Conservation and Education Award given by the American Birding Association for her work in both those areas involving birds.

Anwar Abdul-Qawi

Anwar Abdul-Qawi is a zoologist, conservation educator, photographer, and animal keeper based in Philadelphia. Since 2010 he has worked with both people and animals finding new ways to inspire the public about the world and the millions of species that reside there. Whether it’s on the stage or behind the scenes, in the classroom or in the field, you can be sure you’ll find Anwar there. Searching for new ways to further himself he currently works at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University as a Lead keeper/educator connecting the general public to the importance of conservation.