AU Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on Ohio’s North Coast

AU Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on Ohio’s North Coast

10/19/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – The first event in the 2017-2018 Ashland University Environmental Lecture Series, with a theme of “Ohio’s North Coast,” will be a presentation by Chris May, director of Restoration for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Dwight Schar College of Education. May will speak on “Landscape Restoration and Conservation of Coastal Wetlands in Western Lake Erie.”

The Erie Marsh Preserve on Lake Erie contains some of the last remaining coastal wetlands in southeast Michigan and provides critical habitat for migratory birds and fish. The Nature Conservancy is restoring native ecosystems and natural processes on 950 acres of the preserve. Work at Erie Marsh provides an example of site-scale restoration guided by landscape-scale conservation planning that will benefit native plants and animals, while also providing ecosystem services and recreation opportunities for people across western Lake Erie.

May directs state-wide natural resource management and restoration efforts, and works with partners and private landowners to develop conservation plans. He has been involved in research and management of natural resources for more than 25 years, working across the U.S. and in China. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in ecology from Baylor University in Texas and a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State in California.

Dr. Patricia Saunders, director of the Environmental Science Program, says the goal of this year's series is to explore what is being learned about the ecosystems along Lake Erie’s coast due to recent projects that rehabilitate or replace coastal wetlands and estuaries.

“Historically, there was a rich complex of rivers and wetland habitats. In recent years, new projects in several regions have re-established connections between a variety of coastal ecosystems and the lake,” she said. “On-going urban and suburban development is now being countered, one region at a time, with steps toward better pollution avoidance and carefully planned rehabilitation of coastal habitat. This series will highlight projects that help Lake Erie and its coastal wetlands work better for fisheries and other wildlife, and that continue to teach us more about the workings of these complex ecosystems and the communities that benefit from them.”

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University after the Environmental Science program was implemented in 1991-92. Now in its 26th year, 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. Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation, the National Science Foundation, individual donations 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.

For information about the spring series events and any updates on the lecture series, visit the website at:

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. 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.                                                                                ###

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