On Thursday, June 16, 2022 at 1:00 pm (ET), author and University of Florida History Professor, Jack E. Davis will present “The Bald Eagle – The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird” online at the National Conservation Training Center broadcast page. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author will discuss his sweeping cultural and environmental history of the bald eagle in America.
The Bald Eagle forces us to reconsider the story of America through the lens of our relationship to the natural world. As Davis reveals, no other animal in American history, certainly no avian one, has been the simultaneous object of such adoration and cruelty as the bald eagle – first beloved and hailed as an emblem of the rarefied natural environment of North America, then hated, and, finally, revered and protected.
Taking us from before the nation’s founding, when Indigenous peoples lived peacefully beside the eagle, through two nearly inconceivable resurgences in the 20th century when it was – not once, but twice – nearly brought to extinction by hunting and DDT, Davis recounts a panoramic history of the bird and the icon, through nearly five centuries.
In resurrecting the voices of environmental prophets who warned against DDT; the efforts of a remarkable cast of bird advocates and rescuers who – state by state, nest by nest – climbed trees, rescued eggs, and reintroduced fledges into the wild; and finally, charting the ecological redemption born from bipartisan legislation, Davis reveals the glimmer of a potential path forward as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale. The Bald Eagle is, too, Davis notes, a tale of American values and while patriotism and environmentalism may seem at odds today, “in the American historical context they are complementary at their core.”
Jack E. Davis is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea and An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century. The Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities at the University of Florida, he lives in Florida and New Hampshire
For more information, please contact Mark Madison (304-876-7276).