SCBI’s free lecture series is on at Front Royal

SCBI director Steve Monfort, shown here with a clouded leopard cub, speaks Oct. 6.

From contributed reports
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal has announced its fall series of free Wednesday evening lectures, which runs from Oct. 6 through Nov. 3.

Lectures are held in the training center at SCBI, 1500 Remount Road, just south of Front Royal off U.S. 522. Seating is limited.
For more information, contact the SCBI education office at 540-635-6540.

The schedule:

Oct. 6: Dr. Steven L. Monfort, Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
Join SCBI Director Steve Monfort for a talk that will highlight SCBI conservation and science projects worldwide, as well as some of the groundbreaking science being conducted in the mid-Atlantic region and at SCBI headquarters in Front Royal. Monfort has been with the Smithsonian since 1986 in a variety of roles, from veterinarian to scientist to educator, and now as the director of SCBI.  He will share his vision for how SCBI will serve as the focal point for the Smithsonian’s efforts to use science-based approaches for conserving species and training future generations of conservationists around the world.

Oct. 13: Dr. Jonathan Thompson, the Role of Forests in Mitigating Global Climate Change 
Forests provide enumerable benefits to society. Chief among them is their ability to filter air by absorbing carbon dioxide pollution and releasing oxygen. Not surprisingly, the great expanse of deciduous forest that blankets the eastern United States plays an important role in mitigating the effects of global warming. Dr. Jonathan Thompson studies the role of forests in the climate system and his work is part of an effort to expand the current scope of research done at SCBI’s Conservation Ecology Center to include forest ecology and climate change science. His talk will focus on the role forests play in climate change.

Oct. 20: Kenneth S. Kesson, Managing Your Land for Wildlife
Kenneth S. Kesson, private lands biologist with Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Natural Resource Conservation Services (DGIF/NRCS), will highlight management practices landowners can use to increase the variety of wildlife on their property  SCBI, in conjunction with the Virginia Working Landscapes Grasslands (VWLG) initiative, is working to promote native biodiversity through the restoration of native warm season grasses and create a community network that promotes the dissemination of information among neighbors and networks landowners with state and federal agencies that can provide technical and financial assistance. Kesson’s efforts help landowners restore wildlife habitat and are an important part of the VWLG effort.   His talk will focus on restoring grassland habitat in Virginia for quail.

Oct. 27: Robert Rice, Bird Friendly Coffee
Ever think you could help maintain or enhance biodiversity and critical habitat by the simple act of drinking a cup of coffee? Join Robert Rice from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to learn more about the center’s “Bird Friendly Coffee” program. This initiative is linked directly to organic coffee certification, focusing on the agroforestry aspects of the coffee farm and certifying those farms with a shade cover that creates the forest-like conditions that provide quality habitat for birds and other animals. His talk will discuss the field work genesis of this innovative and one-of-a-kind program within the Smithsonian, linking consumers to farmers and the market place to conservation.

Nov. 3: Dr. Luis Padilla, the Gulf – Interagency Joint Response to the Oil Spill in Louisiana
The Gulf of Mexico is facing one of the largest environmental disasters known to date. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been deemed the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.   Dr. Luis Padilla, staff veterinarian for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will share his experiences as part of the oil spill cleanup response.  Working alongside other government responders, Smithsonian veterinary staff played an important role in helping to restore the gulf’s wildlife, specifically by assisting in the relocation of birds affected by the oil spill, selecting relocation and release sites and providing veterinary input and support to other agencies.

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