BirdLife South Africa is a firm believer that conservation needs to start with conversation. We are therefore excited to introduce our new webinar series ‘Conservation Conversations with BirdLife South Africa’ to all of you!

On 14 April 2020 at 19:00 (CAT), BirdLife South Africa undertook to start a weekly webinar series called ‘Conservation Conversations with BirdLife South Africa’. These weekly webinars hosted through Zoom have become a permanent feature, bringing some entertainment and education to your households as we embrace the new virtual reality that we all find ourselves in thanks to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each talk lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour with a 15-30 minute Q&A session with our presenters afterwards. These sessions will give you a chance to learn about the incredible conservation work taking place across South Africa, the amazing birding destinations you can visit and lots more beyond that, while also sharing some of the conservation success stories which BirdLife South Africa has been privileged to drive.

All of our episodes are recorded and you can watch the recordings on YouTube via the links at the bottom of this page.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this initiative and continues to tune in each and every Tuesday.

We will begin our third season on 8 February 2022 at 19:00 SAST. See you there.

> How to sign up for a webinar

We will be hosting these talks via Zoom. If you have not yet downloaded the Zoom application for your computer please click here. It is free to use.

The next step is to look through the schedule of talks below and select the ‘Register for this talk button’ if you are interested in attending. Click this button and enter your name and email address so that we can use to send you the access link to attend the talk.

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with the relevant link and password that will allow you to join the presentation.

Zoom rooms will open 15 minutes before each talk is set to start. There is a limit of 100 participants for these presentations so please be sure to log in early and ensure your spot during the live presentation. By clicking the invitation link which will have been sent to you after you register for the talk, you will be able to access the presentation via Zoom.

Talks will be simultaneously lived streamed through BirdLife South Africa’s Facebook page if you are unable to access the Zoom room. Please like and comment on the live stream and we will share your questions with the speaker.

If you miss out on the live presentation, all presentations will be recorded and loaded to BirdLife South Africa’s YouTube channel the following day and you will be able to watch them there and leave your comments.

Please note: From 12 May BirdLife South Africa will be using a standard webinar link for all of our talks and this will no longer require you to register. The links can be found under the relevant talk’s banner and clicked to join the Zoom room before 19:00 every Tuesday.

If you have any questions please email conservations@birdlife.org.za.

Meet your Conservation Conversations Hosts

> Dr Melissa Whitecross

Dr Melissa Whitecross

Melissa is the Manager of the Landscape Conservation Programme at BirdLife South Africa and is responsible for the coordination of the incredible team of conservationists working to preserve South Africa’s most threatened terrestrial (land-based) birds and their ecosystems. Melissa joined BirdLife South Africa as an intern in 2017 after completing her PhD in savanna ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand. After completing her internship, Melissa was offered a full-time position as the Raptor & Large Terrestrial Bird Project Manager where she oversaw projects on the Secretarybird, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Black Stork and Taita Falcon. Melissa was awarded the Leslie Brown Memorial Grant by the Raptor Research Foundation for her work on the Southern Banded Snake Eagle and remains actively involved in the research and conservation of this elusive forest raptor.

Melissa’s favorite bird is undoubtedly the Secretarybird and she remains actively involved with their conservation and the research into the movements of juvenile Secretarybirds across southern Africa. Melissa is a passionate birdwatcher having seen over 765 birds in sub-region and enjoys taking photographs, as you can see by some of the images in the Conservation Conversations header above. Melissa is a passionate conservationist, who has made it her mission to communicate the incredible conservation work and exciting environmental successes that have been achieved throughout South Africa and the world. Melissa looks forward to hosting you in the next webinar and wishes you happy birding wherever in the world you find yourself.

If you have any questions or comments for Melissa, please email conservations@birdlife.org.za or reach out to her on Twitter (@mwhitecross27) or Instagram (@melissaw27).

> Andrew de Blocq

Andrew de Blocq

Andrew is the Avitourism Project Manager at BirdLife South Africa. Andrew oversees the Community Bird Guide Project as well as the Birder Friendly Establishment and Tour Operator network. Andrew is more broadly involved with the development of avitourism in South Africa, which includes organizing birding weekends, developing and promoting resources for birders such as the birding routes and the South Africa Listers’ Club, and promoting South Africa as a birding destination through talks, podcasts, interviews, and media engagements. Andrew joined BirdLife South Africa in 2018 as the resident ‘penguinologist’ in the Seabird Conservation Programme in Cape Town before making the move up to Johannesburg in late 2020 to take on his current position.

Andrew is a keen birder, reluctant twitcher, and amateur wildlife photographer in his spare time. He gets especial motivation for his work from the tangible difference that he can make to people’s lives and livelihoods and from sharing his passion for birds with others. Though he now works more on matters around ecotourism and marketing, Andrew still maintains a keen interest in the conservation of birds and their habitats and is known for sticking his nose in his colleagues’ work on a regular basis.

If you have any questions or comments for Andrew, please email andrew.deblocq@birdlife.org.za or reach out to him on Instagram (@andrew_takes_photographs).

> Christina Hagen

Christina Hagen

Christina Hagen, BirdLife South Africa’s Pamela Isdell Fellow of African Penguin Conservation joins the Conservation Conversations team as our latest host. Christina loves hiking, board games (Wingspan is a favorite) and exploring the incredible biodiversity of the Western Cape. Christina is also a volunteer fire fighter.

If you have any questions for Christina please email christina.hagen@birdlife.org.za

Upcoming Webinars

Please be sure to check you spam/junk folders in your email inbox after registering as some inbox filters may send your registration emails astray.

Please note:

Conservation Conversations is limited to 500 viewers within the Zoom portal and registration for the webinar does not guarantee access to the Zoom room, however, the webinar is simultaneously live streamed to the BirdLife South Africa Facebook page and you can interact and ask questions exactly the same as you would in the Zoom portal. If you are unable to enter the Zoom room please visit the Facebook page on Tuesday nights. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience but these are free webinars and we would like to keep them that way and therefore encourage you all to watch through Facebook if the Zoom room reaches capacity.

Competitions

Watch this space for future competitions.

Watch Recordings of Previous Webinars

Watch Season 2's 2021 Webinars Here
Watch Season 1's 2020 Webinars Here

Further reading on this topic can be found in these references: