Smithsonian spring lectures begin March 31

Special to the Rappahannock News
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal has released its schedule of free lectures for the spring. The lectures are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting March 31.

The schedule:

March 31: Turtles: A Cause for Wonder, a Cause for Concern

Turtles, among the oldest group of vertebrate animals on the planet, are now among the most threatened. Tom Akre, assistant professor of biology at Longwood University, will discuss recent findings on global turtle conservation.

April 7: Climate Change and Polar Bears – How You Can Help

The situation for polar bears is pretty grim as global warming causes a decrease in their sea ice habitat. Donald Moore, associate director of animal care science at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, shares his ideas about how to help, based on 10 years as an outreach educator on behalf of Polar Bears International.

April 14 : Living with Black Bears in Virginia

The Blue Ridge and adjacent mountains of Virginia are the epicenter of an expanding Virginia black bear population now estimated to be between 12,000 to 15,000, up from an estimated 5,000 less than a decade ago. Marshall Jones, SCBI senior conservation advisor, will present the latest information about the facts and myths of black bear biology and what we can all do to co-exist with these amazing animals.

April 21: Restoring Przewalski’s Horses to the Wild

The primitive Przewalski’s horse is the only truly wild horse left on Earth. Evidence of their existence goes back to the last ice age, but with the loss of habitat, they disappeared in the wild in the 1960s. Dr. Melissa Songer talks about the challenges of reintroducing the “Yehmeh” into the Kalameili Reserve in Xinjiang Province.

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