In his widely praised 2012 book Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds, former New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporter Jim Sterba examines how twentieth century wildlife conservation efforts in the U.S. intersected with development sprawl to create unforeseen environmental problems, centered around the impact of swelling animal populations. Sterba will discuss this environmental history, how it influences human interaction with wildlife, and the related issues that continue to unfold, on Wednesday, April 1, at 5:00 pm in the Sanders Classroom Building auditorium (room 212).
Sterba’s Vassar presentation “Wildlife in a Changing Environment” will be free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, the college’s Environmental Studies program, Biology department, Earth Science and Geography department, and Environmental Research Institute, as well as President Hill’s program on Dialogue and Engagement Across Differences. This talk also kicks off a wildlife management event series led by members of the Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance (EMMA), a group of land managers and preserves throughout the Hudson Valley dedicated to land stewardship and research. EMMA members include the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Community Greenways Collaborative, Hyuck Preserve and Biological Research Station, Mianus River Gorge, Mohonk Preserve, New York Botanical Garden, Teatown Lake Reservation, Vassar College, and Westchester County Parks (http://www.emmahv.org/).
“There’s a lot in Nature Wars for the reasoned and concerned human to learn about the changing natural landscape,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. Added the Washington Post, “Sterba portrays the resulting conflicts not only between people and animals but also between hunters and activists, government officials and residents, and any number of other factions.”
Jim Sterba has been a newspaper journalist for more than four decades, largely with The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He served as a foreign correspondent, war correspondent, national affairs reporter, and science writer, and retired from daily journalism in 2012. For the Times his coverage included the 1970 invasion of Cambodia, the 1971 India-Pakistan war, famine in Afghanistan and the return of U.S. prisoners from Vietnam. As a national correspondent for several years he covered the Rocky Mountain states before roaming widely across the West. Later he was as an economic development reporter, Hong Kong bureau chief, and a reporter for the Science Times section. In 1982 Sterba joined the Journal as a reporter and editor on the foreign desk, and mainly reported on Asia. In 1989, he covered the Chinese student demonstrations and the subsequent military crackdown on them in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Later while based in New York, he continued to write about Asia, as well as about emerging forest and wildlife issues; the latter formed the reporting basis for his book “Nature Wars.” Sterba also authored the autobiographical book “Frankie’s Place: A Love Story” (http://www.jimsterba.com/).
Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (http://www.vassar.edu).
Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.
ALSO UPCOMING IN THE EMMA SERIES
In the coming weeks the Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, NY and the Westchester County Parks will also hold events in the new series organized by the Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance (EMMA):
Teatown Lake Reservation
“Beaver in the Hudson Valley: Their Benefits and Challenges”
Carriage House Building
April 18, 9:00am-noon
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY
914-762-2912 ext. 110
Teatown Lake Reservation will host the workshop “Beaver in the Hudson Valley: Their Benefits and Challenges” led by Dr. Clive Jones of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and Mike Callahan, president of Beaver Solutions, LLC. This event will be held free and open to the public but registration is required, so call 914-762-2912 ext. 110 for further information.
Absent from southeastern New York for much of the last century, beavers have recently begun returning to the area due to the abundance of ponds, streams, and forests. As “nature’s engineer” a beaver’s activities can have many positive effects on ecosystems, while also creating problems such as flooding of roads and important habitats. This workshop will focus on a review of the ecology of beaver and how they modify natural ecosystems, as well as examining management options to coexist with these industrious animals.
Jones' research focuses on ecosystem engineering: how organisms physically and chemically modify the non-living environment, and the consequences for other species and ecological processes. Callahan has worked on beaver management for over 20 years and is an expert in the use of flow devices to control beaver-related flooding, having installed over 1,100 successful flow devices in the U.S. and Canada. He has also taught many previous beaver management workshops.
Westchester County Parks
‘Strategies for Deer Management in Westchester Suburban Communities: Understanding opportunities and challenges for your municipality “
April 30, 8:30am-4:30pm
Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY
NOTE: Further details to be announced shortly.