ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center will be hosting one of the world’s premier ant experts as part of an ongoing Science Lecture Series. Dr. Aaron M. Ellison is the Senior Research Fellow in Ecology at the Harvard Forest, and an Adjunct Research Professor in the departments of Biology and Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. On June 19th at 6:00pm he will present “The ants of the Northeast: to know them is to love them” at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center on 195 New Karner Road in Albany. In addition, Graduate Student Grace Barber will be leading a field visit and ant specimen collection along the trails of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve from 4:00pm – 5:30pm that same day.
According to Dr. Ellison, “Ants are the little things that run around your kitchen and backyard while they are running the world. Ants are everywhere, they are beautiful, and they are important to us in many ways. Without ants, plants would not grow as well as they do; ants turn over soil, disperse seeds, and even farm fungus and tend micro-livestock. Ants also have a lot to teach us about the evolution of behavior and sociality.” Join Dr. Aaron Ellison, Senior Ecologist at Harvard University’s Harvard Forest and the lead author of the new Field Guide to the Ants of New England for a lecture and discussion about the diversity of ants in the Northeast’s forests, fields, gardens, and homes, and learn more about how important ants are to us and to the world around us.
Dr. Ellison received his B.A. in East Asian Philosophy from Yale University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Ecology from Brown University in 1986. After post-doctoral positions at Cornell and with the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, Aaron taught at Swarthmore College before moving to Mount Holyoke College in 1990, where as an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, and then as Associate Dean for Science, he taught biology, environmental studies, and statistics until 2001. In 1992, Aaron received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Faculty Fellow award for “demonstrated excellence and continued promise both in scientific and engineering research and in teaching future generations of students to extend and apply human knowledge.” Following a sabbatical year at Harvard in 2001-2002, Aaron assumed his current position at the Harvard Forest – Harvard’s 1500-hectare outdoor classroom and laboratory for ecological research. There, he studies food web dynamics and community ecology of wetlands and forests, evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants, the response of plants and ants to global climate change, and the application of Bayesian statistical inference to ecological research and environmental decision-making. He has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific papers, dozens of book reviews and software reviews, and the books A Primer of Ecological Statistics and A Field Guide to the Ants of New England. Aaron is the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs, and in 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Signed copies of the Field Guide will be available for purchase. A book signing and refreshments will follow the lecture.
This adult lecture is FREE and will be held rain or shine at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany. Visit AlbanyPineBush.org for more details and to pre-register for the field visit or the presentation (strongly recommended), and click on Events Calendar or call 518-456-0655.
Located within the Capital District Region, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve’s gently rolling sand plain is home to a variety of rare plants and animals, including the Federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly. The 3,200-acre Preserve, also creates a special habitat for a number of other rare and unique plants and animals, while providing visitors with 18 miles of trails for an assortment of non-motorized recreational opportunities including hiking, jogging, nature study, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing.
The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art LEED “Gold” certified green building that introduces visitors to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center transforms this globally-unique destination into an exciting adventure where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits and the fully-accessible, interpretive Discovery Trail. With the help of many volunteers, the Discovery Center offers monthly outings and programs about the ecology, natural history and cultural history of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center and the Discovery Shop is free –there is a small fee for programs. The Center is now open daily weekdays 9AM-4PM, weekends 10AM-4PM (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day). The Discovery Center is also ideal for training sessions, meetings, small conferences, special events, business retreats and private parties. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.