Monthly Lectures at Katonah Memorial House (71 Bedford Road in Katonah)
All monthly lectures are free and open to the general public.
The lectures are held at the wheelchair accessible
Katonah Memorial House (71 Bedford Road in Katonah).
Please park alongside the meeting house side of the driveway,
and do not block the Fire Department access.
Wood Turtle Study of the Great Swamp 2011
Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30 pm
For ten years, Michael Musnick has studied the North American Wood Turtle (a species of special concern in New York State) in the Patterson Great Swamp. To date about 200 individuals have been identified and 38 are wearing radio transmitters. Mr. Musnick collects data about hibernation sites and fidelity, nesting sites and fidelity, aestivation sites, and protection of nests. He also marks and releases hatchlings, and all this data is used to determine the viability and health of the wood turtle habitat as well as the need to protect and forbid the degrading of qualifying sites. The wood turtle is one of seven species of turtle indigenous to Putnam and Dutchess counties.
Michael Musnick is a citizen scientist, who works under permit of the DEC and the federal government and reports to both these bodies and to Friends of the Great Swamp, who funds his ongoing research. As part of his studies, and with support from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Mr. Musnick has developed a unique system of turtle bridges along the Metro North rail line in Putnam County that allows the wood turtles to escape when stuck between the tracks.
Plant It and They Will Come: Creating the Bird-Friendly Yard Using Native Plants and Ecological Design
Native Landscape Consultant Kim Eierman
Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 pm
Nothing announces spring like the animated chirping of birds, migrating back to New York after a long winter. These migrating birds, as well as overwintering birds, are hungry and looking for food, cover and nesting sites in your yard. Help them out this spring and throughout the year by growing some great native plants which beautify your yard and attract a great diversity of birds. Are Cedar Waxwings passing you by? No Eastern Towhees stopping in your yard? You can do a lot in your own landscape to help our many declining bird species. Kim will share helpful tips on successful bird-friendly gardening and some of the best choices of native plants, just in time for planting season.
Kim Eierman is the owner of Kim's Native Landscape Consulting, advising clients on best practices for eco-beneficial landscaping. Kim is an adjunct professor at "Go Native U", an instructor at New York Botanical Garden, an accredited organic landcare professional with NOFA, a Master Gardener, a Master Naturalist, a Steering Committee member of the Native Plant Center at WCC, and a Board member of Friends of Lasdon Park & Arboretum. Kim earned a certificate in Horticulture at NYBG, and has studied at Rutgers and New England Wildflower Society.
The Lives of Spring Wildflowers
Botanist Carol Gracie
Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 pm
In addition to brightening our woodland walks, each of our wildflowers plays a role in its ecosystem, providing food for insects or other animals – usually in the form of pollen, nectar, or fruits – obtaining nutrients from nearby trees and shrubs through underground fungal connections, or serving as a host for fungal pathogens or developing insect larvae. Learn about the lives behind some of our beloved spring-blooming wildflowers.
Carol Gracie is a naturalist and photographer. She is now retired from The New York Botanical Garden, where she headed the Children's Education Program and the Foreign Tour program and also taught in the Continuing Education Program. After marrying a tropical botanist, Carol decided to work with her husband on botanical research projects in South America. She is a co-author, with her husband Scott Mori, of the two-volume Guide to the Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana. She has recently worked on plant inventories in the Caribbean and the northeastern United States, and lectures on temperate and tropical flora and other natural history topics. She has five newly discovered tropical plant species named for her. After working for two decades in the tropics, Carol's original love of temperate flora was rekindled, and in 2006 she co-authored (with Steve Clemants) Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States. Her latest book, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, was published in March of 2012. Carol and Scott live in Westchester County, NY where she volunteers with local conservation organizations and enjoys travel, gardening, and her grandchildren. Carol was on the board of Bedford Audubon and chaired the Events Committee for many years. Her books will be for sale and signing at the lecture.
Conservation of Birds of Old Fields and Young Forests
Dr. Robert Askins
Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30 pm (originally scheduled for June 6)
Forests have been the focus of most conservation efforts in the northeastern United States. Less attention has been directed at open habitats, but these areas have a disproportionate number of declining and endangered species. In New England and New York, many of the bird species that have shown persistent, long-term decreases in abundance are associated with shrublands and grasslands. Shrubland species such as Brown Thrasher, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, and Yellow-breasted Chat are primarily found on abandoned farmland or in forests that are recovering from a major disturbance. They have declined as open habitat areas in the region have been replaced with forest.
Is this a conservation problem or a "return to normal" in a historically forested landscape? Where did these species live before people cleared the forest for farming? How can we sustain their populations as open habitats continue to disappear? All of these issues will be addressed in his presentation.
Dr. Robert Askins is Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, where he teaches courses in ecology, animal behavior, conservation biology and ornithology. His research focuses on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds in both their northern breeding areas and tropical wintering areas. He has analyzed the habitat requirements of forest birds that nest in deciduous forests in New England and Japan, and the ecology of songbirds that spend the winter in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has also studied Blue-winged Warblers, Prairie Warblers and other species that are restricted to early successional habitats. Robert Askins has published scientific papers in numerous journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Wetlands, Ecology, Current Ornithology, Studies in Avian Biology, Wilson Bulletin, and Conservation Biology. In 2000 he published Restoring North America's Birds; Lessons from Landscape Ecology", a book on the ecology and conservation of North American birds. A second edition of this book was published by Yale University Press in 2002. The book will be for sale and signing at the lecture.
Stopover Ecology of Migrating Raptors
Dr. Laurie J. Goodrich
September 12 at 7:30 pm
Although hawkwatchers spend a lot of time watching birds fly past their lookout points, very little is known about what migrating hawks do when they're not flying. In this talk, Laurie will describe the results of research at Hawk Mountain to examine the behavior and habitat use of migrating accipiters along the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania. The program trapped and marked 48 Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks and followed them for one to 12 days each to determine the habitat they used and how they spent their time.
In the lecture, Laurie will present her studies of habitat use and behavior of migrating hawks—data that's crucial for conservation planning within migration corridors.
Laurie J. Goodrich is a Senior Monitoring Biologist at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA. Her work includes supervising Hawk Mountain's raptor migration counts and database management, acting as liaison with North American raptor migration sites, and the Veracruz (Mexico) River of Raptors program, research on raptor migration behavior and ecology, and research on the effects of forest fragmentation on nesting birds. Laurie received her Ph.D. in Ecology in 2010 on the stopover behavior and ecology of autumn-migrating raptors and a M.S. in Ecology from Rutgers University in 1982 on Least Terns. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Raptor Research Foundation, the board of the Hawk Migration Association of North America, and the Pennsylvania Ornithological Technical Committee, and the Berks Conservancy natural resource committee.