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March 11, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

An Eruption of Life: The 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens and the Return of Birds to a New Landscape

On May 18, 1980, a cataclysmic event occurred at Mount St. Helens as the north flank of the volcano slid off in one of the largest landslides in recorded history, unleashing a powerful eruption. This eruption buried 230 square miles of existing old-growth forest with hundreds of feet of volcanic debris. In some places closest to the crater of the volcano, almost no living organisms survived. Ash from the eruption blew across the United States and megatons of logs and volcanic debris clogged up rivers, lakes and streams. The eruption created a vastly different landscape and opportunity for new ecological communities to evolve. Mount St. Helens serves today as a living laboratory for the study of the renewal of life after disturbance.

Who could predict what would happen after a cataclysmic eruption? Learn about the May 18, 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens and what it taught scientists about how life renews in volcanic landscapes. Become acquainted with the different disturbance zones that were created by the 1980 eruption and how life has flourished in these environments. As ecological communities evolve, so do the birds that depend on them. We will use the example of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 to think about the regeneration and renewal of landscapes in other places shaped by extreme events like volcanic eruptions.

Join Gina Roberti for an interactive presentation which will share some of the insights learned from scientific study of the renewal of life in volcanic landscapes. Bring your questions and curiosities!

This course is part of a three-part series about birds and volcanoes presented by Gina Roberti from the Mount St. Helens Institute.

$20 – $30
Summer blooms at Mount St. Helens
Summer blooms at Mount St. Helens, D.T. Strouse

Join us and learn about Mount St. Helens and Birds!

How did the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens create a new landscape? What has surprised scientists about the return of birds and the renewal of life at Mount St. Helens since 1980? Join us to learn about volcanic landscapes and what they can teach about the resilience of life.


Class Details

  • Class: March 11, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    Class fee: $20 members / $30 non-members
  • Note: Class recordings will be sent out automatically to everyone who registered post-class. Thank you!



March 11, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Bird Alliance of Oregon
5151 NW Cornell Road
Portland, OR 97210 United States
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$20 – $30


Tara Lemezis