Sonoma Sun Event Calendar

Ancient trees, ghost cats and the urbanization of plants at Quarryhill lecture series Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Saturday July 28th -

The third annual Peter H. Raven Lecture Series at Quarryhill Botancial Garden, July 28, Aug. 18 and Sept. 29, will feature Steve Sillett, professor of Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University; Rodney Jackson, noted scientist and founder of the Snow Leopard Conservancy; and Peter Del Tredici, senior research scientist emeritus of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum and visiting lecturer of Applied Ecology and Planning at MIT.

Sillett is the first scientist to enter the redwood forest canopy and is known as an authority on tall trees, especially redwoods. Jackson is globally recognized as the leading expert on wild snow leopards and their habitat, working with snow leopards since 1981. Del Tredici is a highly respected scientist and author who offers a novel approach to understanding the urbanization of plants and why it matters. It should be a dynamic summer speaker series that furthers Quarryhill’s ongoing dialogue on issues and solutions related to conservation.

On Saturday, July 28, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Sillett will discuss “Limits to Tree and Forest Productivity of the Five Tallest Species.” Intensive study of the five tallest tree species (Eucalyptus regnans, Picea sitchensis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Sequoia sempervirens, Sequoiadendron giganteum) permits the first quantitative comparisons of canopy structure, biomass, and carbon sequestration potential of these forests. Looking at the long-term growth histories of trees older than 2,000 years old, provides context for evaluating the potential effects of climate change on the world’s tallest forests.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Jackson will discuss “Conserving the Rare Ghost Cat of the Himalaya and Beyond.” Jackson is a South African-born scientist and founder of the Sonoma-based Snow Leopard Conservancy. For over 30 years, Jackson has been working to ensure snow leopard survival and conserve mountain landscapes by expanding environmental awareness and sharing innovative practices through community stewardship and partnerships. His efforts have helped livestock herders from the Himalayas to southern Siberia co-exist with snow leopards, and restore traditional ways, including their connection to the cat as a powerful totem.

The lecture series concludes on Saturday, Sept. 29, 5:30- 6:30 p.m. with Peter Del Tredici speaking about “Urban Nature: Human Nature.” His presentation will focus on plants that grow without cultivation in cities and their remarkable ability to flourish in spite of stressful environmental conditions. Cities, including the plants and animals they support, can be considered “novel” ecosystems that not only reflect a tumultuous past but also preview an unpredictable future. Del Tredici says the “spontaneous” vegetation that inhabits our cities is “as cosmopolitan as its people and better adapted to their changing environmental conditions than the native species that once grew there.” Find out if that is better or worse for the environment.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and each lecture runs 5:30-6:30 p.m. Cost is $35 for members, $45 for non-members. There is an additional 10 percent discount for members if they sign up for the entire three-speaker series. Refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information go to Quarryhill is located at 12841 Sonoma Hwy. in Glen Ellen.