Ashland University Sets Environmental Lecture on ‘Rehabilitation of Nature in Urban Landscapes’

Ashland University Sets Environmental Lecture on ‘Rehabilitation of Nature in Urban Landscapes’

3/30/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – The second event in Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series this semester will be a presentation by Dr. Mary Gardiner, entomologist, associate professor and director of the Urban Landscape Ecology Program at Ohio State University.

Gardiner will speak on rehabilitation of urban green spaces, and the natural functions and “services” that natural areas provide in urban landscapes. The lecture will be held Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education. This event is free and open to the public.

Much of Gardiner’s current research focuses on the urban ecosystem that encompasses 20,000 vacant lots in Cleveland, Ohio, that were formerly residential and commercial space. She and her students and colleagues focus on the question of how redesigning vacant land can restore natural “services” to urban landscapes.

These include rehabilitation of native plant communities and improving storm-water infiltration, as well as the effects of these changes on pollinator communities and their contributions to ecosystem functions and services.  The general goal with this research is to advance the sustainability of food production and urban ecosystem management.

Dr. Gardiner joined OSU in 2009. She was awarded the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Award, and in 2014, she received the Early Career Innovation Award from the Entomological Society of America. She has published 22 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters and eight extension publications in her career. She also has a book due out in May 2015, titled “Good Garden Bugs: Everything You Need to Know About Beneficial Predatory Insects.”

Gardiner is actively engaged in “citizen science” projects such as the Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz and numerous extension activities related to enhancing home landscapes, urban green spaces and small-scale farms as habitats for beneficial arthropods. She co-teaches two graduate courses at OSU.

This year’s Environmental Lecture Series explores “People and Environmental: Restoration and Rehabilitation of Natural Areas.” The goal of the series is to explore different examples of projects intended to restore or rehabilitate the natural functions of habitats that have been heavily affected by development projects. The series will focus on the benefits of natural systems, including the valuable “services” provided by rehabilitated habitats in highly impacted regions. Case studies also will illustrate the challenges and limitations of renovating impaired ecosystems. The focus of specific case studies will be in and around Ohio.

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University after the Environmental Science program was implemented in 1991-92. The lecture series was designed to support the Environmental Science program by allowing students, faculty and members of North Central Ohio communities to interact with leaders in environmental science and policy. Over the years, the lecture series has generated significant campus and community involvement and support. Recent lectures are archived for viewing at ashland.edu/environmental-lecture-series.

Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University. Past series have been supported by AU and grants from the GTE Foundation and the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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