Trish O'Kane: Birding to Change the World

Book Launch Celebration
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
191 Bank Street
Burlington, VT 05401

Please join us for an evening with author, professor, and activist Trish O'Kane to celebrate the release of her uplifting memoir, Birding to Change the World.  

"Not just a delightful story but a powerful one, showing how we can open doors into the natural world, and hence into the fight to defend it. Birds as teachers—a wonderful idea!" — Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature 


Trish O’Kane is an accidental ornithologist. In her nearly two decades writing about justice as an investigative journalist, she'd never paid attention to nature. But then Hurricane Katrine destroyed her New Orleans home, sending her into an emotional tailspin. Enter a scrappy cast of feathered characters—first a cardinal, urban parrots, and sparrows, then a catbird, owls, a bittern, and a woodcock—that cheered her up and showed her a new path. Inspired, O'Kane moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue an environmental studies PhD. There she became a full-on bird obsessive—logging hours in a stunningly biodiverse urban park, filling field notebooks with bird doings and dramas, and teaching ornithology to college students and middle-school kids.

When Warner Park—her daily birdwatching haven—was threatened with development, O’Kane and her neighbors mustered a mighty murmuration of nature lovers, young and old, to save the birds' homes. Through their efforts, she learned that once you get outside and look around, you're likely to fall in love with a furred or feathered creature—and find a flock of your own.

In Birding to Change the World, O'Kane details the astonishing science of bird life, from migration and parenting to the territorial defense strategies that influenced her own activism. A warm and compelling weave of science and social engagement, this is the story of an improbably band of bird lovers who saved their park. And it is a blueprint for muscular citizenship, powered by joy.

Trish O'Kane is a writer and a senior lecturer in environmental justice at the University of Vermont, where avians are her teaching assistants. A former human rights journalist in Central America and the Deep South, she has written for the New York Times, Time, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Burlington, Vermont, with her writer-husband, their dog, and three chickens.

DATE: Tuesday, February 27th, 7:00pm

LOCATION: Phoenix Books Burlington, 191 Bank Street, downtown Burlington

TICKETS: $3. Your ticket comes with a coupon for $3 off one copy of the author's book. Coupons expire at closing the evening of the event. Tickets can be purchased at the registration link below, or at the door. 

BOOKS: Signed copies of Birding to Change World will be available at the event. Can't make it to the event but still want to purchase a signed, personalized copy? Click HERE. Copies will be available after the event on February 27h. If you ordered a book for store pick up, we will contact you as soon as it's ready. If you ordered a book with shipping, please allow an additional 7-10 days for delivery.