A Public Lecture Series at the Cambridge Public Library
PLEASE JOIN US — Events are free and open to all.
- February 4
Humans and Wildlife: The New Imbalance
Jim Sterba, Author of Nature Wars
By the late 19th century, North American forests and wildlife were in dire straits. For nearly 400 years, arriving Europeans had removed trees and killed off wild birds and animals to the point that a few enlightened leaders sounded the alarm, and the conservation movement was born. Three slow but remarkable transformations followed. Forests reclaimed huge swaths of abandoned cropland. Many threatened wildlife populations, restocked in refuges and protected, slowly grew back to health. Then, people moved out of cities after World War II, creating a mosaic of suburban, exurban and rural sprawl where family farms once thrived. Now, this new habitat is filled with people who want to “leave nature alone,” and many wildlife populations are proliferating out of balance. We have mounting community conflicts over what to do, or not to do, about deer, beavers, Canada Geese, and other species. As the dominant player in our ecosystems, it is time for us to overcome our reluctance and embrace our stewardship role.
Jim Sterba is an internationally recognized author and correspondent who has reported for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for more than four decades. His book, Nature Wars, published in 2012, has earned critical acclaim and catalyzed an important national conversation about wildlife management. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation.
- March 4
Wild Orchids of New England
Bill Brumback, Director of Conservation, New England Wild Flower Society
Did you know that New England is home to more than 50 species of native terrestrial orchids? Although not as showy as the tropical orchids of the florist trade, our hardy species have fascinated botanists for centuries. Adapted to specific habitats from Maine’s northern woodlands to the sands of Nantucket, these orchids are remarkable in their diversity and their adaptations. Discover more about our New England orchids, their haunts, their peculiar lifestyles, their rarity, and their pollination systems. Learn which ones are cultivated in the nursery trade and adapted to gardens, and how we can conserve all of these species.
Bill Brumback has worked for the New England Wild Flower Society for several decades. His contributions to the conservation of our region’s flora are extensive, and his work to propagate and protect Robbin’s cinquefoil in New Hampshire’s White Mountain led to its recovery and subsequent removal from the U.S. Endangered Species list. He has been studying the rare native orchid, small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides), for thirty years and claims that he still doesn’t understand it.
- April 1
Native Meadows: Let's Get Real
Larry Weaner, Principal, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates
Native meadows are increasingly popular, particularly as alternatives to lawn, yet few types of landscapes are more misunderstood. Inadequate planning and use of poorly adapted plants commonly lead to failure. Better results can be achieved when the patterns and processes of naturally occurring meadows are incorporated into all aspects of design, installation, and management. More than one-year wonders, meadow plantings modeled on actual meadow communities provide long-term, easily managed landscapes that harbor a myriad of birds and butterflies, and provide color and texture throughout the year. Join native meadow expert Larry Weaner to learn concrete, practical ways of creating dynamic and stunning long-lived meadows. Case studies of both multi-acre projects and small-scale residential meadows will be shown.
Larry Weaner has been creating native landscapes since 1977. His firm has a national reputation for combining ecological restoration with garden design traditions. His projects have received numerous awards and been included on tours given by the American Horticultural Society, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and many other organizations. He is the founder of New Directions in the American Landscape, a conference series with a national following that has run for more than two decades.
- May 6
Land Stewardship for Pollinator Conservation
Kelly Gill, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Pollinators are essential to our ecosystem—more than 85 percent of the world's flowering plants and two-thirds of our agricultural crops depend upon them for reproduction. In many places, however, their essential service is at risk. Loss of habitat due to urbanization and use of pesticides are causing declines in both managed honey bee colonies and native pollinator populations. Come learn about the fascinating and diverse world of New England’s native pollinators—bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, and wasps— and about the latest science-based approaches to reversing pollinator declines by protecting and managing habitat for these vital insects.
Kelly Gill is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist for the Xerces Society and a Partner Biologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Xerces Society has worked for over 40 years on pollinator conservation and is well known for its best-selling book Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies.
Additional Event, Seating, and Parking Info
Doors open at 6:30 pm for general seating. Seating is unassigned and will be available on a first-come basis.
Limited public parking is available to all under the library, with an entrance ramp on Broadway. Fee is $1/hour. Limited metered spaces, as well as Cambridge resident street spaces, are available in the area. Please carpool if you can. The closest T stop is Harvard Square on the Red Line.
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View Programs from Past Years
2014 Evenings with Experts • 2013 Evenings with Experts • 2012 Evenings with Experts
2011 Evenings with Experts
To the Cambridge Community Foundation, the Cambridge Public Library, and to all of our members for helping to sponsor this series. Please Become a Member and help keep this series vibrant!