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Thursday Night Nature Autumn 2021 Full Season

Thursday, October 7
Thursday, October 7


The Preserve is proud to announce the continuation of Thursday Night Nature. In the same vein as our popular Winter Lecture Series, the Preserve will host a guest lecturer 7 pm – 8 pm every Thursday night for six weeks beginning Oct. 7. Using easy-to-use Zoom webinars, these virtual lectures will feature an impressive list of experts from across the country. Lecturers will discuss a wide range of topics from forests to forest bathing, from gardens to wetlands and from the climate to children.

Thursday Night Nature – Summer 2021
Admission: $15 per lecture (members $12 with discount code)
Admission: $75 for the full series (members $36 with discount code) – this option is only available before the start of the series.

So kick back, relax and join the Preserve from the comfort of your couch and turn your screen green with Thursday Night Nature.

For individual program registration, please select the program title here or find it on our website listed under Talks, Walks and Lectures.

Product Quantity

Feeding Butterflies, Not Bambi: Deer Resistant Native Plants - Thursday Night Nature (Oct. 7)

When we garden, we can support biodiversity through the plants we chose! In this workshop you will learn which native plants are less likely to be eaten by the suburban scourge of deer while also feeding butterflies and birds. Includes recommendations for specific flowers and bushes as well as details on how to grow them.

Deb Ellis is an environmental activist who is grateful to her parents for her deep love of nature. Deb is passionate about teaching how to use native plants to promote biodiversity and heal the Earth. She is the founder and co-leader of the Essex County chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, a Master Gardener, has served on the Montclair Environmental Commission, and has had a Certified Backyard Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation for 15 years. A retired social justice lawyer, Deb served in leadership positions in nonprofit organizations and received several awards for public service, including being named as a Champion of Change by the Obama White House.

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Colorful birds: Exquisite Eggshells and Other Avian Adventures - Thursday Night Nature (Oct. 14)

Birds evolved about 150 million years ago, and today they are the most diverse and colorful land vertebrates. Learn about the fascinating ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to avian diversity. In the field, professionals are establishing a system for studying color perception in wild hummingbirds in the Rocky Mountains. These tiny iridescent birds lead colorful lives, performing spectacular courtship dives and pollinating diverse wildflowers. This class will also study the avian egg, a remarkable structure that is built to break. The eggs laid by stealthy cuckoos and flightless emus offer insights into avian behavior and evolution.

Mary Caswell (Cassie) Stoddard is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University. On a Marshall Scholarship, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge before joining the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. Stoddard is a research affiliate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She was a 2018 Sloan Research Fellow and is a current Packard Fellow.

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The Diverse Forests of New Jersey: Ecology, Threats, and Restoration - Thursday Night Nature (Oct. 21)

Despite being one of the more densely populated areas in the country, our region is home to a great diversity of trees and forests. European settlers cleared nearly every acre, but natural forests rebounded and are maturing, mostly on protected conservation lands. We will explore the ecology of these forests and current threats including canopy clearing through logging, invasive species encroachment, deer pressure, and the effects of wood removal on soil, habitat, and carbon storage. Forest protection and restoration efforts hold much promise.

Dr. Sara Webb is a forest ecologist and Professor emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies at Drew University where she directs of the Drew University Forest Preserve’s restoration project. Her areas of expertise include forest disturbance by wind and fire, old growth forests, invasive plants, and restoration ecology. She is a member of the board of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.

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Native Plant Propagation - Thursday Night Nature (Oct. 28)

This introductory lecture into plant propagation discusses traditional methods, provides a brief summary of modern tissue culture techniques and, additionally, looks into the world of fern propagation. The advantages and disadvantages of sexual vs asexual reproductive methods will be covered, and presenter Hubert Ling, Ph.D, will give you low cost tips on saving time and energy to procure as many plants as you can fit into your growing space.

Hubert Ling, Ph.D., has been excited about nature starting since his youth when he had to pass a test to go to a nature camp. His interest led him to study biology and focus on microbiology, mycology, botany and general biology with many publications. Now retired from academia, Ling is the current sitting president and a former board member of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. An avid native plant gardener, he has shared his expertise as consultant, speaker, and field trip leader for various organizations and is a monthly contributing writer for the “Gardener News”.

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Butterfly Gardening With Native Plants - Thursday Night Nature (Nov. 4)

Butterfly gardening is a method used to protect the entire life cycle of butterflies. Whether you garden in sun or shade, there are many native plants that will attract these beautiful pollinators to your space. This talk explores the partnerships between butterflies and native plants while suggesting easy steps to enhance our local ecosystems, as well as your own garden.

Trained as an agronomist and working for nearly two decades for the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), Jane Hurwitz has extensive experience observing and writing about the interface of gardens and insects, with a special interest in butterflies. In 2018, Princeton University Press published her most recent book, Butterfly Gardening: The North American Butterfly Association Guide, a lavishly illustrated volume that presents essential information on how to choose and cultivate plants that will attract a range of butterflies to your garden and help sustain all the stages of their life cycles. Jane is a frequent speaker on butterflies, native plants and gardening. She was executive editor of the NABA periodical Butterfly Gardener from 2011 to 2020.

NOTE: This lecture will be a live-only event and will not be recorded.

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Bring on the Bugs! The Importance of Native Plants & How to Get Your Neighbors On Board - Thursday Night Nature (Nov. 11)

The conventional American landscape is almost devoid of native plants, with lots of land no longer performing its ecological function. Some folks have embraced using native plants at home but without the help of our neighbors our insects, wildlife, water, and plants are in trouble. What can we do to get more people on board? Fran and Tom have some tips to help get your neighbors on the native plant bandwagon.

Tom Knezick is naturally inquisitive but his role as production analyst requires him to pull things apart and figure out how and why they work. Coupling this with growing up on a native plant nursery and his love of podcasts is what makes Tom a natural host for Native Plants, Healthy Planet.

Fran Chismar likes to talk - and with over 30 years of nursery industry experience, Fran has a lot to talk about. He insists he is not an expert on anything, but knows just enough about everything to be dangerous. Fran brings his experience with music podcasting, and joins it with his industry knowledge in restoration and native plants, to help guide you through Native Plants, Healthy Planet.

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Thursday evenings, Oct. 7 – Nov. 11, 7-8 pm

If you are a member and having trouble with using your code, please message

Additional Information: Online registration for this program bundle closes on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at 5:00 pm; for help with registration please email

You will receive your email with the Zoom meeting invitation after the registration period closes. Please be sure to keep an eye on your inbox and spam folders.

NOTE: At checkout, you will be required to enter a pickup time. Please scroll through the list and select “Virtual Class.”