This year's Meadowlark Nature Festival keynote presentation will examine the relationship between the coffee trade and cultivation and the life cycle of a number of dwindling migratory bird species, some of which live in the Okanagan.
Robert Rice, geologist and research scientist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, DC, works with agro-ecology and land use policy issues in Latin America and North America, with a focus on agro-forestry systems and their connection to and impact on biological landscapes.
His talk will focus on the economics of coffee cultivation and its effect on the birds, and how a move toward bird friendly coffee can make a huge difference in the survival of these species.
Coffee is one of the world's most valuable commodities, second only to oil.
His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Sharon Mansiere, a biology professor at Okanagan College.
Mansiere has done research on migratory passerines, shorebirds and seabirds. She is currently developing a natural history museum collection for the college.
Other panel members are Dick Cannings, an Okanagan naturalist and author, and Michael Benzer, who does program development at the En'owkin Centre, as well as being an environmental consultant.
The 2014 Meadowlark Nature Festival will take place from May 15 to 19. It will offer more than 80 environmental tours and events in the Okanagan Similkameen.
The keynote presentation is May 15 at the Shatford Centre.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the presentation is at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased in person from noon to 2 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Shatford Centre Festival office in Penticton, or online at www.meadowlarkfestival.bc.ca.