Saturday, April 01, 2017

In Unlikely Places

Austin’s Hornsby Bend does double duty as a sewage plant and wildlife mecca.

Defying conventional narratives of nature, Hornsby Bend is acclaimed as an award-winning sewage sludge recycling plant and as a mecca for bird-watchers, anglers, river paddlers and nature lovers in general as a Central Texas ecotourism destination on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Heart of Texas East Wildlife Trail.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine has just published an article about my favorite wasteland...




click to link to TPW Magazine article

Friday, January 27, 2017

The New York Times discover that birds (and birders) like landfills

Follow the link to this article in the NYTimes today Birder's Heaven: Just Follow the Stench to the Landfill

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The CER Lunchtime Lectures 2017
By Dr. Kevin M. Anderson,

AW Center for Environmental Research
Austin, Texas

Understanding Urban Nature: Ecology, Culture, and the American City



The 2017 Lunchtime Lectures will explore the complex relationship between the city and nature in America. Our American narrative of nature celebrates wilderness or “pristine nature” and rural or “pastoral nature” in contrast to the degradation of urban landscapes. However, we are now predominately a country of urbanites who have only recreational contact with wilderness or pastoral nature. To compensate for our urban “nature deficit”, we have incorporated “green space” into our cities - preserves, parks, farms, and gardens - to allow for contact with officially sanctioned approximations of wild and pastoral nature in the urban landscape. The urban nature that lives outside of these green spaces (or that “invasively” assaults them) is seen as a “degraded” type of nature. The resulting warlike narrative sets good nature that obeys its role in the American city against bad nature which has its own cosmopolitan plan for urban landscapes. The writer John Tallmadge describes urban nature as “just too mixed up, chaotic, and confused to fit our established notions of beauty and value in nature…Maybe it’s not really nature at all, not a real ecosystem, just a bunch of weeds and exotics mixed up with human junk.” Ecologists are called on to mediate and to assess whether it is a real ecosystem, and thereby add another chapter to the narrative entitled “urban ecology” in which science measures ecological cycles and ecosystem function in the city. The 2017 Lunchtime Lectures are an attempt to disentangle this complex story of ecology, culture, and the American City and, perhaps, to help you have a better understanding of urban nature. Join us on this exploration of urban nature!

Perspectives on Urban Nature

 January - Varieties of Possibility: Perspectives on Nature and the City
February - Urban Wild: Wilderness, Wildness, and the American City
March - Urban Pastoral: Farms, Gardens, and Parkland in the City
April - The Elemental City: Cycles, Services, and Urban Ecology


The Nature of Cities – Urban Natural History and Ecology
May - Nature in the City: Urban Habitats and the Degradation Myth
June - The Aquatic City: The Ecology of Urban Waterways
July - The Terrestrial City: Greenspace and the Urban Forest
August - The Subterranean City: Soil and the Urban Microcosmos
September - The Aerial City: Urban Birds, Bats, and Denizens of the Sky


The Proper Place of Urban Nature
October - Nature Out of Place: Invasive Species, Novel Ecosystems, and Urban Ecology
November - Design with Nature: Urban Planning, Management, and the Sustainability Myth
December - Encounters with Urban Nature: Ecology, the City, and the Arts


Time: Noon to 1pm
Free and Open to the Public – bring a lunch and learn


Locations and Day of the Month – Austin, Texas
Every 2nd Wednesday – Senior Activity Center-Lamar (SAC-Lamar) at 2874 Shoal Crest Ave, South Room
Every 3rd Tuesday - Austin Water Center for Environmental Research (CER) at Hornsby Bend
Every 3rd Thursday - One Texas Center (OTC) at 505 Barton Springs Road and South First Street, Room 325


The CER Lunchtime Lectures 2017 Schedule by Location -
SAC - Senior Activity Center-Lamar - 2874 Shoal Crest Ave, South Room at 29th and Lamar
CER - Austin Water Center for Environmental Research – 2210 South FM 973 at Hornsby Bend
OTC - One Texas Center - 505 Barton Springs Road, Room 325 at South First Street
Time: Noon to 1pm

Perspectives on Urban Nature [January – April]
January Lecture – Varieties of Possibility: Perspectives on Nature and the City
Jan 11 SAC
Jan 17 CER
Jan 19 OTC

February Lecture - Urban Wild: Wilderness, Wildness, and the American City
Feb 8 SAC
Feb 21 CER
Feb 16 OTC

March Lecture - Urban Pastoral: Farms, Gardens, and Parkland in the City
Mar 8 SAC
Mar 21 CER
(changed for SXSW)Mar 9 OTC

April Lecture - The Elemental City: Cycles, Services, and Urban Ecology
Apr 12 SAC
Apr 18 CER
Apr 20 OTC


The Nature of Cities – Urban Natural History and Ecology [May - September]
May Lecture - Nature in the City: Urban Habitats and the Degradation Myth
May 10 SAC
May 16 CER
May 18 OTC

June Lecture - The Aquatic City: The Ecology of Urban Waterways
June 14 SAC
June 15 OTC
June 20 CER

July Lecture - The Terrestrial City: Greenspace and the Urban Forest
July 12 SAC
July 18 CER
July 20 OTC

August Lecture - The Subterranean City: Soil and the Urban Microcosmos
Aug 9 SAC
Aug 15 CER
Aug 17 OTC

September Lecture - The Aerial City: Urban Birds, Bats, and Denizens of the Sky
Sept 13 SAC
Sept 19 CER
Sept 21 OTC


The Proper Place of Urban Nature [October – December]
October Lecture - Nature Out of Place: Invasive Species, Novel Ecosystems, and Urban Ecology
Oct 11 SAC
Oct 17 CER
Oct 19 OTC

November Lecture - Design with Nature: Urban Planning, Management, and the Sustainability Myth
Nov 8 SAC
Nov 21 CER
Nov 16 OTC

December Lecture - Encounters with Urban Nature: Ecology, the City, and the Arts
Dec 13 SAC
Dec 19 CER
Dec 21 OTC


Monday, June 13, 2016

The New York Times

From Garbage to Grassland

 
The world’s largest landfill is slowly becoming a park — very slowly. The conversion of Freshkills on the western shore of Staten Island into a verdant expanse of green is now in its second decade, with two more to go before it is finished.
 
 

Monday, June 06, 2016

The end of the idea of "pristine nature" but "nature" goes on...


An article today in the Washington Post headlined "There’s basically no landscape on Earth that humans haven’t altered" reviewing a paper published in PNAS with a touch of journalistic "more or less" .


the Post article is here "the end of nature has now been more or less confirmed by scientists"


the PNAS paper here Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions