AU 2018-19 Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on ‘Bees, Butterflies and Dragonflies’

AU 2018-19 Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on ‘Bees, Butterflies and Dragonflies’

10/15/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s 27th annual Environmental Lecture Series features the theme of “Ohio Citizen Science” and will kick off Thursday, Oct. 25, with a presentation by Dr. Karen Goodell, professor at Ohio State University-Newark. The series will focus on science projects that include work by trained volunteers throughout Ohio. Projects will focus in turn on bees, butterflies and dragonflies.

Goodell will speak on the topic, “Engaging Ohio’s Citizens in Bee Conservation Research,” at the 7:30 p.m. event on Oct. 25 in Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education. All events in the series are free and open to the public.

Goodell will discuss the use of citizen scientist data for two projects in her lab aimed at assessing natural habitats for bees. The Ohio Bumble Bee Survey aims to map the distribution of bumble bee species in Ohio and determine critical habitat for rare and endangered species. Trained citizen scientists have identified survey locations throughout the state and have collected data on queen bumble bee nesting habitat. A second study focused on the development of the pollinator community on a newly planted prairie patch on a reclaimed mine. Finally, she will evaluate some of the successes and challenges of the first two years of the Ohio Bee Atlas project administered through the iNaturalist database and offer what insights she can on how to improve citizen engagement in bee conservation research.

Goodall teaches introductory biology to majors and non-majors, engages undergraduates in independent research, and trains graduate students. Her research investigates the interactions between plants and pollinators. She is especially interested in understanding factors that influence native bees. In Ohio, she has worked to understand how mine reclamation influences pollinator communities, how crop management practices influence important crop pollinators, and how invasive species interact with pollinators. She earned her Ph.D at SUNY Stonybrook, an M.Sc. at University of California Riverside and her B.A. from Brown University.

According to Dr. Patricia Saunders, AU associate professor of biology and director of the environmental science program, the “overall goal of the series is to explore citizen science projects that are active in Ohio. Why are volunteers needed and what can we learn from these large-scale projects? How does information about the distributions of species distributions, for example, help us learn more about local and regional environmental issues?”

Other events in the series will include:

  • Jan. 24/ Dr. Sarah DiamondGeorge B. Mayer Chair in Urban and Environmental Studies & Assistant Professor of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, speaking on the topic of “How humans redistribute butterflies in space and time: surprises and novel insights from long-term citizen science monitoring.” Dr. Diamond will explore the findings from long-term citizen science monitoring of butterflies by the Ohio Lepidopterists’ to understand how climate warming alters seasonal activity and geographic range and distribution of butterflies across the state of Ohio.
  • March 21/ MaLisa Spring, state coordinator for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey, Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, speaking on the topic of “Ohio Citizens and Dragons: Documenting threatened species with iNaturalist.” Join MaLisa Spring to learn more about dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio. Ohio is home to some 170 species of dragonflies and damselflies, with 23 listed as state threatened or endangered. These ferocious aerial acrobats are important for managing insect populations and can serve as indicator species. Learn how you can help these winged predators by documenting them in your own backyard and land management strategies to support your own dragons!

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 on this webpage.

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

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply 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. ###