Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on Ohio Dragonflies

Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on Ohio Dragonflies

3/11/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s 27th annual Environmental Lecture Series featuring the theme of “Ohio Citizen Science” continues on Thursday, March 21. MaLisa Spring, state coordinator for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey, Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University, will speak on the topic of “Ohio Citizens and Dragons: Documenting threatened species with iNaturalist.” This is the third and final event in this year’s series.

The event is free and open to the public. Those attending will 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 people can help these winged predators by documenting them in backyards as well as land management strategies to support dragons.

The Ohio Dragonfly Survey is part of the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership. The updated survey runs from 2017-2019 and will result in a new book about Ohio dragonflies and damselflies for a general readership. Goals of the survey include documenting the status of threatened and endangered species and getting lots of people engaged in natural areas in their region. Threats to dragonflies and damselflies include habitat loss and pollution of habitats with herbicides and pesticides.

Spring started her interest in entomology early with projects on lady beetle diversity and an internship on insect diversity. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish from Marietta College. Her senior thesis was about bee diversity. She earned a Master’s Degree in entomology from The Ohio State University and has published her research.

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?”

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, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, 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 (www.ashland.edu) 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. ###