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Bald eagle is topic of Pulitzer-winning historian’s lecture

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Feb 12, 2021

DEBBIE THOMAS Jack Davis handles a bald eagle.

Following his Pulitzer-winning book about the Gulf of Mexico, Jack E. Davis focuses on bald eagles in a historical context. The author, lecturer and historian will speak on “The Bald Eagle: Symbol and Species in American History” on Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at The Community House for the “Ding” Darling Lecture Series.

Davis will share knowledge and images from his forthcoming “Bird of Paradox: How the Bald Eagle Saved the Soul of America.” His new “The Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature,” which he edited and contributed to, along with Leslie K. Poole, just released. It includes an essay by refuge lecturer Cynthia Barnett about Sanibel and its shells. Davis is also the author of “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” and “An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century.”

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has racked up a number of other honors for his books and teaching stints at schools from the University of Birmingham to the University of Jordan in Amman. Davis has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, Orion and other publications.

“Bird of Paradox” is a natural and cultural history of the bald eagle from pre-European settlement to the present. It looks at the historical relationship between Americans and the bald eagle as a national symbol and natural species.

Socially-distanced seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will distribute entry wristbands to attendees starting at 9 a.m., after taking touch-free temperature readings. Attendees must be wearing wristbands and face masks to enter the lecture room. Early arrivals may save their seat and one other with personal items; saved seats must be filled by 9:45 a.m.

Following the lecture, Davis will sign copies of “The Wilder Heart,” which is available for purchase onsite that or in advance at any of the Nature Store outlets. Profits from Nature Store sales directly benefit refuge education and research.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is hosting the 17th annual lecture series, and the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam sponsored Davis’ lecture.

The remaining series schedule is as follows:

– March 12: Author Paul Bannick, “Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History,” sponsored by Bill and Laurie Harkey*

– March 19: Author Kirk W. Johnson, “Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century,” sponsored by Ashton Kirchner Group/Keller Williams Realty Sanibel and Captiva, HighTower/Thomas and Swartz Wealth Management, Geoffrey and Karen Moss, and Sanibel Carts*

*book signing to follow

For more information, visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.

The Community House at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.