2024 Keynote Speakers  

When: Saturday, April 6, 2024

Presentation1: Mr. Michael Academia

Food supplementation increases reproductive performance of ospreys in the lower Chesapeake Bay

Presentation 2: Mr. David Reed and Mr. Will Halnon

The Maryland Osprey and Nature Festival is pleased to announce its 2024 Keynote speakers. 

Brought to you courtesy of:

Presentation 1: Food supplementation increases reproductive performance of ospreys in the lower Chesapeake Bay

Demographic response of osprey within the lower Chesapeake Bay to fluctuations in menhaden stock & OspreyWatch Forage fish, essential in marine food webs, face increasing demand and overharvest concerns. A study in the Chesapeake Bay reveals that osprey breeding performance is negatively impacted by declining menhaden stock, emphasizing the need to restore stock to 1980s levels for osprey population viability, challenging current ecological reference points based on predatory fish needs.

OspreyWatch is a global community of observers focused on breeding osprey. The observers are linked by an interest in osprey, concern for the health of aquatic environments, and data submitted to a repository through the OspreyWatch website. The mission of OspreyWatch is to collect information on a large enough spatial scale to be useful in addressing three of the most pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems including global climate change, depletion of fish stocks, and environmental contaminants.

A Tiny Fish That Fuels an Atlantic Ecosystem Now Fuels Industry Debates


Mr. Michael Academia

Mr. Michael Academia holds a comprehensive seven-year focus on osprey research, showcasing an unwavering commitment to understanding and conserving these iconic species. His academic journey includes earning Summa Cum Laude honors for an M.S. in Biology from William & Mary and receiving prestigious accolades like the George R. Healy Fellowship and the William Andersen Award for groundbreaking osprey-menhaden research. His impactful work includes identifying localized depletion of fish, conducting food addition studies, and utilizing nest web cameras for citizen science initiatives, all within the framework of his extensive osprey-focused research. Michael excels not only in research but also in outreach, mentoring, and program coordination notably as a Research Technician & Outreach Coordinator at The Center for Conservation Biology, demonstrating leadership in environmental stewardship. With teaching experience at various levels and a strong background in wildlife biology and ecology, Michael continues to champion scientific advancement and conservation efforts in aquatic ecosystems.

Group 1000001020 (3)
Group 1000001020 (1)

The Most Important Fish in the Bay – Where Did the Bay’s Menhaden Go and Why Does It Matter?

Presentation 2:

Join CLA’s Executive Director, David Reed, and Staff Attorney, Will Halnon, as they explore why menhaden, an oily bait fish, are so important to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and local economies, and how the mismanagement of the fishery by one Virginia agency is threatening not only the health of menhaden populations within the Bay, but also the animals and people that rely on them.

About CLA:  

Chesapeake Legal Alliance (CLA) is the only regional organization solely dedicated to providing free legal services to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are a trusted source for innovative legal strategies to solve the Bay’s most complex problems. Our clients include individuals, community groups and environmental advocates working to protect the Bay’s lands, waters and communities. CLA also works with local, state, and federal regulators seeking unique solutions to Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration.