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Naturalist Journeys: Raising Whales by Joe Roman

January 10, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

North Branch Nature Center’s annual presentation series featuring the breathtaking travels and fascinating research of naturalists around the world.
Fridays at 7 pm at North Branch Nature Center
Admission by donation
Additional parking on Finch Street across from the NBNC entrance

2020 Naturalist Journeys Lineup

January 10 – Raising Whales: How the Recovery of Cetaceans Can Help Restore the Oceans – Joe Roman

The recovery of the great whales after centuries of unregulated hunting is one of the great conservation success stories of the twentieth century. Yet the return of marine mammals can also cause conflict, as they are sometimes viewed as competitors with fishing and other human activities. In this lecture, Joe Roman will discuss his research on the ecological role of whales in the oceans, including their role in enhancing productivity, and highlight the many ecosystem services they can provide in marine systems.

Joe Roman is a conservation biologist and author at the University of Vermont. He is Editor-‘n’-Chef of eattheinvaders.org and the author of “Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act.” He recently completed a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Scholarship at the University of Iceland.


January 24 – The Birds at the End of the World: Renewal and Remembrance in the German Borderland – Kerstin Lange

When the Berlin Wall fell under the pressure of peaceful protests thirty years ago, the 900-mile-long border that had separated the two German states also became obsolete. During the four decades that humans were kept out, this narrow strip of land became a refuge for more than 1,200 rare plant and animal species.  We’ll hear the story of how a 13-year old ornithologist provided the first, crucial documentation of this remarkable biodiversity, and how birds formed the basis for an unusual cross-border friendship.

Between 2016 and 2018, writer and naturalist Kerstin Lange traced the former border by bicycle and on foot to investigate its human, ecological, and socio-political legacies.  Kerstin will share the story of the border itself – its layers of history and its transformation into Germany’s longest, skinniest nature preserve – and reflect on the people she met on her expedition.

February 7 *RESCHEDULED TO FEBRUARY 28* – The Real Eastern Coyote – Chris Schadler

Myths surround the coyote and cloud our understanding of it. Learn the true story of the eastern coyote: how it arrived in New England, how it lives among us, and how it contributes to healthy forests and fields. Learn why the coyote is a creature of our own making – an animal different than the western coyote in genetics and behavior but with the same superior resilience and adaptability. Despite the ecological benefits the coyote brings, it is the most persecuted carnivore in North America.  And despite human efforts to eradicate coyotes, they survive and thrive among us.

Chris Schadler, the NH and VT Representative for Project Coyote, will discuss coexistence strategies, whether you farm, hike or garden. With 30 years of experience researching wolves and coyotes, farming sheep, and teaching, Chris will demonstrate that “knowledge is power” when it comes to living with coyotes.

February 21 – 7,000 Miles to a Wilderness Ethic – Tyler Socash

Tyler Socash is the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Education Programs Coordinator.  He believes in fostering a personal connection with our public lands through exposure, education, and stewardship.  The day after completing his master’s degree at the University of Rochester, Socash embarked on a 7,000-mile thru-hiking journey across the Pacific Crest Trail, Te Araroa in New Zealand, and the Appalachian Trail. This grand immersion into wilderness inspired him to defend rare wildlife habitats in New York State’s Adirondack Park.  He sits on the board of the Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, which promotes the intangibles of wildness and their benefits to humanity.  In an effort to meld humor with conservation efforts, Socash also co-created and co-hosts Foot Stuff Podcast, which spotlights outdoor adventure, antics, and activism around the country.


March 6 – The Presettlement Forests of the Northeast – Charlie Cogbill

The land division surveys from European settlement in North America provide unique evidence of the region’s early forests. Ecologist Charlie Cogbill studied 1640-1850 survey records from across New England and the Middle Atlantic to determine the relative abundance of boreal conifers, northern hardwoods, temperate conifers, and central hardwoods across the region. His research revealed a distinct and narrow  tension zone extending across central New England, separating northern hardwood forests (dominated by beech) from the central hardwoods (dominated by oaks) to the south. Although there have been drastic changes in species abundances, forest disturbance, and climate, the presettlement character and position of the tension zone and overall forest biomass remains similar more than 200 years later.

March 20 – The moose of Isle Royale and Yellowstone National Parks – Ky Koitzsch

Join wildlife biologist Ky Koitzsch as he shares his experiences skiing in the backcountry wilds of Yellowstone and Isle Royale National Parks with his field partner and wife Lisa to study North America’s most magnificent deer, the moose. In Yellowstone, as an alternative to traditional aerial surveys, the couple implemented cutting-edge, non-invasive genetic and hormonal methods to accurately assess population parameters. On Isle Royale, where researchers have been studying moose and wolves for over 60 years, and where wolves are currently being reintroduced to suppress the growing moose population, Ky and Lisa apply similar non-invasive methods to study how chemical defenses in the moose’s winter browse, balsam fir, affects its mid-winter nutritional condition. Ky will also discuss why moose are in decline across the southern reaches of their North American distribution, including here in New England.


January 10, 2020
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602