‘Naturalist Nights’ series returns | AspenTimes.com

‘Naturalist Nights’ series returns

Staff report/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Times

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) is again partnering with Wilderness Workshop and Roaring Fork Audubon to co-host the annual winter speaker series, Naturalist Nights, beginning Jan. 11, 2023.

“Our 2023 speakers will highlight topics that are on a lot of Roaring Fork Valley people’s minds this year,” said Jim Kravitz, director of naturalist programs at ACES. “Presenters will discuss bear-human conflict, the resurgence of birding, ancient peoples of Colorado mountains, water storage, and threats from oil and gas — everyone should be able to find something they’re interested in hearing more about.”

Each of the five speakers will present on Wednesday evenings in Carbondale at the Third Street Center (520 South Third St.) and on Thursday evenings at ACES Hallam Lake (100 Puppy Smith St., Aspen). Presentations will also be available to watch on each organization’s Facebook page, Grassroots TV, and other local-media outlets. Registration is strongly encouraged for each presentation but not required, spokespeople said. 

“Western Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley are one of the most biologically-significant landscapes in the U.S., “ said Will Roush, executive director at Wilderness Workshop. “This year’s speakers will provide a fascinating perspective on our valley and its ecosystems while illuminating the importance of protecting this special place and all of its inhabitants.”

The 2023 Naturalist Nights series lineup:

  • Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, with Rebecca Weiss and Mark Fuller, local Aspen birders, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 6-7 p.m. at the Third Street Center, and Thursday, Jan. 12, 6-7 p.m., Hallam Lake. Weiss is an Aspen birding guide, writer, and naturalist who has been leading birding programs at ACES  for 15 years. Fuller has been a birder, naturalist, and photographer in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 40 years. He has taught ornithology and birding through Colorado Mountain College, ACES, and the Independence Pass Foundation.
  • Health Implications of Developing Oil and Gas in Residential Areas, with Lisa McKenzie, associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 6-7 p.m., Third Street Center and Thursday, Jan. 26, 6-7 p.m., Hallam Lake. An environmental epidemiologist by training, McKenzie focuses on the impacts of environmental stressors and interventions on health outcomes. Her research has contributed to the understanding of how exposures resulting from the development of oil and gas resources affect the public’s health.
  • The Science of Coexisting with Black Bears in Colorado, with Stewart Breck, research wildlife biologist with U.S. Wildlife Services-National Wildlife Research Center, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6-7 p.m., Third Street Center, and Thursday, Feb. 9, 6-7 p.m., Hallam Lake. Breck’s work focuses on the science and outreach that enhances coexistence between large carnivores and people. He has been conducting research on black bears in urban areas of Colorado for over 18 years, with six years of this research focused in Aspen.
  • The First Ascent: Over Ten Thousand Years of Native American Occupation in the Colorado Mountains with Jason LaBelle, professor of anthropology at Colorado State University, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 6-7 p.m., Third Street Center, and Thursday, Feb. 23, 6-7 p.m., Hallam Lake. LaBelle’s research specializes in the subsistence, mobility, seasonal aggregation, and camp layout of Native American hunter-gatherers inhabiting the American West over the past 13,000 years, with primary emphasis on Colorado.
  • Ancient Wetlands: Their Essential Value and Threats in our Warming World, with Delia Malone, field ecologist at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Wednesday, March 8, 6-7 p.m., Third Street Center, and Thursday, March 9, 6-7 p.m., Hallam Lake. Malone conducts biological surveys of upland, wetland, and stream habitats and biological surveys for rare plants and animals across Colorado with the goal of conservation.

ACES — a non-partisan, nonprofit organization — provides environmental-literacy programs for kids, teens, and adults, as well as community and business leaders. With three locations between Aspen and Basalt, ACES offers year-round programs focused on science, ecology, natural history, stewardship, forest health, regenerative agriculture, civic leadership, and more. For more information and a full listing of ACES offerings, visit http://www.aspennature.org.

Wilderness Workshop is a nonprofit organization protecting the wilderness, water, and wildlife of Western Colorado’s public lands. Learn more at wildernessworkshop.org.

Roaring Fork Audubon promotes the enjoyment, conservation, and understanding of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, through birding, education, advocacy, and fellowship. Learn more at RoaringForkAudubon.org.


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