Free public lecture series focuses on connectivity programs

Many diverse species of plants and animals found on the Shawangunk Ridge require large blocks of intact habitat to flourish. Through a free public lecture series titled “Making the Conservation Connection,” the Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership (SRBP) will provide information on the environmental importance of creating large-scale protected and connected landscapes. “For many people in our area, life is greatly enhanced by access to extraordinary wildlands such as the Shawangunks and the Catskills,” said Cara Lee, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Shawangunk Ridge Program. “This winter season is a great time to come to the Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership’s free lecture series to learn more about the fascinating complexities of the natural world around us. This year the series will offer a great mix of naturalists, scientists and wildland advocates speaking about their research and passions for protection of the natural world.”

The lecture series will take place on Feb. 9 through March 1. Lectures will take place on Thursday evenings and are open to the public and free of charge (no advance registration is necessary). Cancellations due to winter weather will be listed on many area radio stations and effort will be made to reschedule any cancelled lectures in early March.

Lectures to be held at SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center, Room 102, include:


Feb. 9, 7 to 8:30 p.m. — Landscape-Scale Conservation: Connecting the Ridge with the Foothills, with John Thompson, director of conservation science at the Mohonk Preserve.

Feb. 16, 7 to 8:30 p.m. — Creating America’s Eastern Wildway, with John Davis, co-founder of The Wildlands Network.

Feb. 23, 7 to 8:30 p.m. — Living on the Wind: The Miracle of Bird Migration, with naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul.

March 1, 7 to 8:30 p.m. — The Surprisingly Significant Earthworm, with Dr. Peter Groffman, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.