Lecture Series

This is the 22nd year of the environmental lecture series at Ashland University!

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University after the Environmental Science program was implemented in 1991-92. The lecture series was designed to support the Environmental Science program by allowing students, faculty and members of North Central Ohio communities to interact with leaders in environmental science and policy. Over the years, the lecture series has generated significant campus and community involvement and support. Recent lectures are archived for viewing on this webpage.

Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University. Past series have been supported by AU and grants from the GTE Foundation and the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation.

All lectures will be at 7:30 p.m.  They are now held in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education. They are free and open to the public.

2013-2014: Environmental and Human Health in Latin America

View Lecture Series Brochure.pdf

Circa 589 million people live in the region we identify as Latin America, including South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  Most populations are concentrated in coastal regions, while the interiors of South America and northern Mexico are much more sparsely populated.  Famously diverse habitats and climates, valued natural resources, history and culture affect the way people live and make a living. How do human communities and environment interact in Latin America?  How can international policies on natural resources affect life in the region and back in the U.S.?  Can changing land management practices help wild nature and human communities?   This year’s series will include real examples that provide some depth and breadth to our understanding of environmental issues in Latin America and, quite possibly, in our own backyard.

Our choice of topics this year is intended to complement the biennial symposium organized by our College of Arts and Sciences, that this year is titled “Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean.” Together, these two series encourage immersion in this regional focus, with the Environmental Lecture Series offering perspectives from experts in human ecology, foreign policy, and scientific study related to specific environmental issues.

Oct 3 / Dr. Kendra McSweeney, Associate Professor of Geography, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH--"Drug-Trafficking and Deforestation in Central America" [BBC News, Jan. 30, 2014; Science, vol.343, Jan. 31, 2014--summary of research report]

Nov 7/ Dr. Geoffrey Dabelko, Professor and Director, Ohio University Voinovich School Environmental Studies program--"Environment, Peace, and Security: Lessons from Latin America ~co-hosted by Ashland Center for Nonviolence~ [VIDEO}

Feb 20/ Dr. Matt Venesky, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA-- “Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife and their conservation challenges in the Neotropics[VIDEO] --> if video does not play properly, see this notice re Firefox  security settings or try googling mixed content blocker info

Apr 3 / Dr. Amanda Rodewald, Director of Conservation Science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Associate Professor, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY-- "The intersection of coffee, communities, and conservation in Latin America" [VIDEO]

2012-2013 The Ecology of Urban Living

Seventy-nine percent of the U.S. population and 51% of the world’s population now live in urban areas. The realities of city living include high-density development, the importation of resources, export of wastes, and demand for the infrastructure needed to support quality of life. Cities boast both environmental positives and negatives, but above all, cities may seem quite apart from the natural world. Is this really the case? Can nature thrive in the city? Can cities be sustainable systems? This series will include speakers who are urban ecology experts. Planned topics include urban agriculture, wildlife, water resources management, and how urban planning helps or harms beneficial natural functions.
 

 Date / Description

20 Sept / Dr. Anne Jefferson, Assistant Professor of Geology, Kent State University, OH--"The Science of Streams in the City" --[HCSC Auditorium]

11 Oct / Dr. Prawinder Grewal, Professor of Entomology, The Ohio State University--Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center--"Urban Agriculture, Food Security, and Ecological Footprint of Cities" --[HCSC Auditorium]

31 Jan / Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, College of Archictecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University, Cleveland, OH--"Urban Obsolescence and the Adaptive Values of Cities"--[HCSC Auditorium]

21 Mar / Dr. Stanley Gehrt, Associate Professor of Environmental and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH-- "Ghost dogs: Urban ecology of coyotes"--[Ronk Lecture Hall, Schar College of Eduction]

2011-2012 Chemical Pollution in a Global Economy

Our speakers this year will focus on different classes of chemical pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and other personal care products, pesticides, e-wastes and other complex technology wastes. These are transported by air (as for combustion wastes), by water, and by human commerce. Released into the environment, there are many routes back to humans, and a number of contaminants have demonstrated the potential for harm “downstream.” Current and potential problems with specific chemicals are complicated by the growth of human populations world-wide. The impacts of these chemicals on organisms vary considerably, providing scientists and consumers with a lot of questions to work on.

Date Description
6 October

Dr. Melissa M. Schultz, Department of Chemistry, College of Wooster, OHClean and Happy Fish (And the Other Effects of Consumer Products on Non-Target Organisms)”

26 January

Dr. Jonathan D. Maul, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX—“Contaminants in aquatic ecosystems: Current issues across broad spatial scales"

15 March

Colby Self, Director, Green Ship Recycling Campaign, Basal Action Network, Seattle, WAAway is a Place[Trustee's Room, Upper Convo]

12 April

Dr. David Walters, Ecologist, Aquatic Systems Branch, U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins, CO—"The Ghost of Economics Past: Legacy contamination and restoration at Great Lakes Areas of Concern" [Ronk Lecture Hall, Schar College of Education]

2010-2011 Invasive Species

Invasive species are introduced to a region, on purpose or by accident. In order to be "invasive," a new species must be disruptive to the growth of native species and the function of native ecosystems. This can happen if a non-native species can reproduce very quickly and if native predators and diseases are not effective at limiting population growth. It also turns out that invasive plants engage in "chemical warfare" and sometimes facilitate the invasions of non-native animal pests.  Familiar examples of invasive species are zebra mussels and garlic mustard, but there are many more.

Who cares? Invasive species cost billions of dollars as they impact the productivity of fisheries, agriculture, and timber businesses. The diversity and function of natural ecosystems is also compromised, sometimes to the point of extinction or near-extinction of formerly dominant species. Both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species continue to create new and expensive problems for the economy, including national and international commerce.

Date Description
30 September Dr. Don Cipollini, Professor of Biology, Director of Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program, Wright State University, Dayton, OH-- “Garlic mustard: Impacts, mechanisms of invasion, and hope for control”
18 November Dr. Mary Gardiner, Assistant Professor of Entomology, OSU-Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH-- “Invasive plants, aphids, and lady beetles: an exotic food web impacting Ohio’s agricultural landscapes”
24 March Dr. Theresa Culley, Associate Professor of Biology,University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH-- "How plants behave badly: the ecology of invasive pears, buckthorn, and grasses”
14 April Dr. John Chick, Field Station Director, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Illinois Natural History Survey, Brighton, IL-- “Planktonic food webs and Asian carp in great rivers and potential consequences of an invasion of the Great Lakes”


2009-2010 Sustainability and Environmental Issues in Ohio

Date Description
24 September

Dr. Deborah H. Stinner, Dept. of Entomology and Admin. Coordinator, Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program, Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University'Organic Farming'

5 November

Dr. Casey Hoy, Professor and Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University 'Local food systems, local economies, and healthy agroecosystems '

25 February

Dr. David Fitzsimmons, Assistant Professor of English, Ashland University, and freelance photographer and writer; and featuring the live music of Bell Acoustic'350: Images of Fragile Earth'

15 April

Dick Mosley, Retired Director, Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Preserving Ohio's Natural Heritage"'

 

2008-2009 Global Climate Change

2007-2008 Promises and Perils of Technology

Date Description
Please note that the theme of this year's environmental science lecture series is shared with that of the 'Against Indifference' Symposium sponsored by the AU College of Arts and Sciences. It is our hope that these two series will complement and enrich one another.
Guest speakers: Dr. Floyd Schanbacher, Bill Spratley, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer and Dr. Allison Snow

27 September

Dr. Floyd Schanbacher, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, OSU, Wooster 'Renewable energy perspectives and strategies for Ohio: a unique diversity of options, opportunities, and needs'

Dr. Schanbacher is involved with research at OARDC that uses bacteria to convert agricultural waste to a renewable energy supply and a clean fuel source for fuel cell technology.

1 November

Bill Spratley, CEO, Green Energy Ohio 'Sustainable Energy puts Ohio to Work'

Bill Spratley will discuss energy initiatives in Ohio for wind and solar energy, including many examples of how they have been applied in Ohio . Ohio is a leading manufacturer of solar cells, and sustainable energy development offers many potential benefits to Ohio 's economy.

21 February

Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, Professor of Chemistry, Ashland University 'Down in the Digital Dumps: The Hazards of E-waste?'

Dr. Weidenhamer has published three recent papers on lead contamination of imported, inexpensive jewelry in the US. His work has resulted in four product recalls for lead contamination.

10 April

Dr. Allison Snow, Professor of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University 'An Ecologist's View of Genetically Modified Crops'

Dr. Snow studies the ecological impacts of genetically engineered crops on natural and agricultural systems. Dr. Snow's current research combines molecular and ecological approaches to understand how quickly crop genes move into wild populations, and the extent to which novel transgenic traits could benefit weedy and semi-weedy plants. Dr. Snow is the lead author of a 2005 position paper by the Ecological Society of America on environmental effects of genetically engineered organisms.

 

2006-2007 Environmental Issues in National Parks

Date Description
View 2006-07 Brochure (*PDF)
Guest speakers: Dr. Rex Lowe, Dr. Daniel Fagre, Dr. Lisa Petit and Dr. Erica Smithwick

9/14/2006

'Using Our National Parks to Assess Biodiversity: Case Study, the All Taxa Biodiversity Survey of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park' Dr. Rex Lowe, Professor of Biology, Bowling Green State University

11/09/2006

How Glacier National Park Responds to Climate Change: Cascading ecological effects reflect rising temperatures" Dr. Daniel Fagre, Ecologist and Global Change Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

03/01/2007

Preserving Nature in Urban Parks: Does the Path to Yellowstone Begin in the Cuyahoga Valley?" Dr. Lisa Petit, Chief of Science and Resource Management,Cuyahoga Valley National Park

4/19/2007

Seeing Through the Smoke: Understanding Fire in Yellowstone National Park" Dr. Erica Smithwick, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

2005-2006 Wetlands Conservation

Date Description
View 2005-06 Brochure (*PDF)
Guest speakers: Jim Bissell, Dr. Bill Mitsch, Dr. Dave Baker and Dr. Dan Childers

9/22/2005

'The Botanical Richness of Ohio's Glacial Lakes' - Jim Bissell, Curator of Botany and Director of Natural Areas, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

10/27/2005

'Using Science to Conserve and Restore the World's Wetlands' - Dr. Bill Mitsch, Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Science & Director, Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, The Ohio State University

2/23/2006

'Conservation and restoration of the Sandusky River Watershed' - Dr. Dave Baker, Director of the Water Quality Laboratory, Heidelberg College

4/06/2006

'Restoration of the Florida Everglades' - Dr. Dan Childers, Professor of Biology, Florida International University

 

2004-2005 Endangered Species and the Endangered Species Act

Date Description
Guest speakers: Megan Seymour, Dr. G. Thomas Watters, Jim McCormac and Jennifer Windus

9/9/2004

'Endangered Means There's Still Time: Applying the Endangered Species Act in Ohio' - Megan Seymour, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Reynoldsburg, OH

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'Freshwater Mussels: From Living Rocks to Mean Mothers' - Dr. G. Thomas Watters, Curator of Mollusks, The Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity

2/24/2005

'Neotropical Birds: Ohio's Role in Their Conservation' - Jim McCormac, Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

4/7/2005

'The Impacts of Invasive Species on Ohio's Rare Flora and Fauna' - Jennifer Windus, Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

 

2003-2004 Habitat Restoration and Reclamation

Date Description
View 2003-04 Brochure (*PDF)
Guest speakers: Dr. Joe Keiper, Guy Denny, Mitch Farley, Terry Van Offeren and Dr. Jodi Shann

9/30/2003

"Coping with the Loss of Wetlands through Conservation and Restoration" - Dr. Joe Keiper

10/21/2003

"Recipe for Establishing a Prairie Garden" - Guy Denny

2/10/2004

"Ohio 's Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program" - Mitch Farley, Terry Van Offeren

4/20/2004

"Ecological Restoration of Contaminated Sites" - Dr. Jodi Shann

 

Prior Environmental Lecture Series

Environmental Lecture Series Archives

2002-2003 Energy: Problems and Prospects View 2002-03 Brochure (*PDF)
2001-2002 Extinction: Past, Present and Future View 2001-02 Brochure (*PDF)
2000-2001 The Ecology of Changing Environments View 2000-2001 Brochure (*PDF)
1999-2000 Global Resources View 1999-2000 Brochure (*PDF)
1998-1999 Environmental Issues and Ohio's Future
1997-1998 Sustainable Agriculture View 1997-1998 Brochure (*PDF)
1996-1997 Biodiversity
1995-1996 Risk and Regulation
1994-1995 The Science and Politics of Global Warming (spring) Christian Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship (fall)
1993-1994 Environmental Concerns in Everyday Life
1992-1993 Business and the Environment