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Fall 2006 Lecture

Invasive Alien Plant Update - A Newton Perspective

Peter Alden
Author, lecturer, and naturalist

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Newton Free Library

The City of Newton is under attack from alien invaders.  They have come from far away and are taking over our back yards, parks, and conservation areas.  Slowly and quietly they are creeping into our public open spaces, disrupting the natural balance of nature and crowding out our native plants   Some of them, like purple loosestrife, are quite pretty but take over our wetlands; others like japanese knotweed grow tall extremely fast while spreading farther afield underground; still others are even sold at garden stores to unsuspecting customers. Well known author, lecturer and naturalist Peter Alden, from Concord, MA, will present a lecture and slideshow with a stunning display of the twenty worst invasive alien plants in the Newton area.  You will come away from the presentation with the knowledge of how to recognize these plants and what some of the control options are.  You will find out what is happening at the state level and in the legislature in how to deal with severe menace to our city's biodiversity.   The lecturer will also conduct an instant village by village poll of attendees to try to assess where in Newton these invasives pose the most threat.  He has in preparation a new "Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of New England and the Northeast".   

Peter Alden was the inaugural speaker in the Conservators lecture series (now celebrating its 5th anniversary).  Alden, a renowned birder and entertaining and informative speaker, has led over 250 ecotours to over a hundred countries on all seven continents and lectured all over the world for travel and museum organizations.  In his work for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, he spearheaded the first ever statewide Biodiversity Days, in which citizen naturalists in over 80 Massachusetts towns went out into the field to do a species census. This provided a valuable and interesting snapshot of common and unusual species present both here in Newton and across the state of Massachusetts.  He is the author of over a dozen nature field guides including the groundbreaking "National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England" (Knopf, 1998). This book is an easy to use field guide for identifying 1,000 of our region's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals and much more. Other regional field guides in the series cover California, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic States, the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain States, and the Southwestern States. For younger naturalists, along with Roger Tory Peterson, he produced the Peterson First Guide to Mammals of North America and coloring books for both birds and mammals. Other of his books include "The National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife" (1995) and "Finding Birds Around the World" (1982).  Signed copies of his field guide will be available before and after the lecture.

Watch the lecture on video: Part 1 Part 2

The free Newton Conservators Lecture Series , now in its fifth year, is cosponsored by the Newton Conservators and the Newton Free Library. 

 

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