Thoreau’s floral landscape: then to now

view from outside Thoreau's cabin

Lecture: Thoreau as Climatologist:                                                    Tracking 160 Years of Climate Change

Harvard Museum of Natural History: Thursday, November 18, 6:00 pm
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Mass.
Free and open to the public

As part of the Asa Gray Bicentennial Celebration, commemorating the founder of the Harvard Herbarium, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is offering a series of public lectures and programs. One looks particularly interesting to me as a fan of the New England landscape and all things Thoreau. Charles Davis, Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator in the Harvard Herbarium, will speak about his work which picks up where a nature study conducted by Henry David Thoreau left off. 

More than 160 years ago Thoreau documented flowering times at Walden Pond. And, according the Museum’s website, “Davis… has updated Thoreau’s records with current data and integrated them with modern evolutionary biology to reveal how climate change and earlier flowering times have affected Walden’s plants. Those that have greatly declined include many charismatic native wildflower species, while those that have thrived include many nonnative and invasive species. Davis will explore how an integration of historical records combined and cutting edge science can help us potentially mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.”

This local investigation into a global condition could prove fascinating and informative. Mark your calendars.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast