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 – Autumn 2021
Admission: $15 per lecture (members $12 with discount code)
Admission: $75 for the full series (members $60 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.
Oct. 7: Feeding Butterflies, Not Bambi: Deer Resistant Native Plants with Deb Ellis
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.
Oct. 14: Colorful birds: Exquisite Eggshells and Other Avian Adventures with Mary Caswell Stoddard
Birds evolved about 150 million years ago, and today they are the most diverse and colorful land vertebrates. In my group, we are fascinated by the ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to avian diversity. In the field, we 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. We 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 Stoddard (Cassie) is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Stoddard 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.
Oct. 21: The Diverse Forests of New Jersey: Ecology, Threats, and Restoration with Dr. Sara Webb
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.
Oct. 28: Native Plant Propagation with Hubert Ling
This is an introduction into plant propagation discussing traditional methods and also a brief summary of modern tissue culture techniques. The advantages and disadvantages of sexual vs asexual reproductive methods will be covered and I will give you a few tips on saving time and energy using low cost methods to procure as many plants as you can fit into your growing space. A look into the world of fern propagation will also be given.
Hubert Ling has been excited about nature starting in his youth when he had to pass a test to go to a nature camp. His interest led him to a Ph.D. in Biology. He went on to work in industry and academia focusing on microbiology, mycology, botany and general biology with many publications. He has served on the board and as horticulturist for the NJ Native Plant Society almost since its inception and currently is the president. He is an avid native plant gardener. He has shared his expertise as consultant, speaker, and field trip leader for various organizations. He is now retired from academia but he serves on the NPSNJ and Northrup Nature Camp, Board, and is a monthly contributing writer for the “Gardener News”.
Nov. 4: Butterfly Gardening: The North American Butterfly Association Guide with Jane Hurwitz
Learn which native plants support butterflies! Whether you garden in sun or shade, there are many native plants that will attract butterflies to your garden. Butterfly gardening is a gardening method used to protect the entire life cycle of butterflies. This talk explores the relationship that butterflies have with specific native plants and suggests easy steps to protect these relationships in order 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.
Nov. 11: Bring on the Bugs! The Importance of Native Plants & How to get your Neighbors Onboard with Tom Knezick and Fran Chismar
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.