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Lake Walks

Mondays at 4:15 pm

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens

(between the Children’s Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Week 1

Plants Along the Shoreline

Monday, June 24th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Jonathan Townsend
Royal Fern Nursery

Jonathan Townsend grew up near Olean, NY, where he developed a lifelong love and passion for the natural world, particularly bat biology and conservation. Jonathan has worked with various state and local municipalities, private environmental consultants, and non-profits in his career. 

He also co-owns Royal Fern Nursery LLC, a native plant nursery specializing in western New York flora. Jonathan is the President-elect for the Northeast Bat Working Group, and sits on the Board of Directors at Greystone’s Bat Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary and the Board of Advisors for the Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium.

Week 2

Invasive Species and How You Can Help

Monday, July 1st at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Dr. Allison Hrycik
Rensselaer Polytechnic University and the Jefferson Project

Allison Hrycik is a research scientist for the Jefferson Project, which is a collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and IBM Research to understand human impacts on lakes. Allison is based locally to research harmful algal blooms on Chautauqua Lake and works closely with Chautauqua Institution and SUNY Fredonia.

 

She is originally from Colden, NY and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, a Master’s in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from Purdue University, and a PhD in Biology from University of Vermont. During her PhD, she studied how changing winter conditions help set the stage for algae blooms during the open water season.

 

Prior to her position on Chautauqua Lake, Allison was a research scientist at SUNY Buffalo State College working on water quality monitoring in the Great Lakes. Her current projects include monitoring lake bottom algae, understanding nutrient inputs from the Chautauqua Lake watershed, and working with colleagues on Lake George to understand the different drivers of algae blooms in different lake types.

Week 3

Sewage Treatment Plant Tour

Monday, July 8th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Mike Starks
Chautauqua Institution

Mike Starks is the superintendent of the Chautauqua Utility District (CUD). Thoroughly trained on the array of new management and diagnostic tools afforded by the new wastewater treatment plant, Starks is excited to lead the CUD into a new era of ecological responsibility and efficiency.

After working for two summers at the Chautauqua sewer plant, he secured a full-time position there and began working on the numerous certifications needed. 

A Chautauqua County native, Starks studied biology and water treatment facility management at Jamestown Community College and continued his education through the SUNY Empire correspondence course curriculum. 

Week 4

Chautauqua's Rain Gardens

Monday, July 15th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Betsy Burgeson
Chautauqua Institution

Since 2015, Betsy has been transforming the grounds to a new level of excellence by designing and implementing innovative ecologically and economically sound plans. She demonstrates an exemplary work ethic and effort with projects such as returning the Arboretum to its original purpose as an outdoor nature classroom and implementing the century-old plan for the Ellen Biddle Shipman Garden at Miller Edison Cottage.

 

Betsy earned a Bachelor of Science in earth science and biology education at SUNY Fredonia. She then taught biology for seven years at Panama Central in southern Chautauqua County. There, from 2008 to 2009, she held a grant position that promoted outreach and greater public awareness of the effects of human activity on the health of Chautauqua Lake. Betsy grew up locally and is a “third-generation gardener.” ​It was her love for gardens, ecology, and Chautauqua Lake that led Betsy to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and ultimately to Chautauqua Institution.

Week 5

Updates from The Jefferson Project  at Chautauqua Lake

Monday, July 22nd at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Vince Moriarty
The Jefferson Project

Vince Moriarty is a research scientist with IBM Research, and the Jefferson Project at Lake George. His background is in marine biology, and he spent 10 years researching coral reef biology and ecology as part of the Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project in French Polynesia.

 

Vincent’s current research with the Jefferson Project is focused on Harmful Algal Blooms, and using advanced sensor and modeling methods to investigate environmental drivers of cyanobacteria blooms.

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Mike Kelly
The Jefferson Project

Mike Kelly is a Senior Research Engineer with IBM Research and a PhD Candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the lab of Professor Kevin Rose.  With his electrical engineering background, Mike has worked the past nine years on the Jefferson Project at Lake George, developing the Cyberinfrastructure and Smart Sensor Network to facilitate the collection of high-frequency environmental data.  These efforts led him to a deeper interest in liminology (the study of lakes) and how physical forces and hydrodynamics may be contributing to or enabling cyanobacteria blooms. 

 

Mike applied the Jefferson Project technologies to the study of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on Skaneateles Lake in 2018, identifying likely drivers of those blooms.  He shares a keen interest in better understanding the algal blooms within Chautauqua Lake and how Jefferson Project technologies may be applied in that endeavor.

Week 6

Aquatic and Migratory Birds

Monday, July 29th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

Twan Leenders
Twan Leenders
Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

Twan currently serves as the Director of Conservation for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. He is a biologist from The Netherlands whose interests are in birds, animal ecology and conservation management, with a specialty in amphibians and reptiles.

 

Twan is also an avid nature photographer and writes and illustrates field guides. For more than twenty-five years, his work with birds, mammals, plants and especially tropical amphibians and reptiles has taken him to various places on the planet.

 

As a former researcher at Yale University’s Peabody Museum and other institutions, he participated in many international expeditions that helped gather data to better understand and protect biologically important areas and their unique species and habitats. He applies the conservation and ecological restoration lessons he learned across the globe here in Chautauqua County.

 

Twan is the author of Amphibians of Costa Rica and Reptiles of Costa Rica and coauthor of The Wildlife of Costa Rica. His photographs have been featured in many books and magazines, including National Geographic, New Scientist and National Wildlife.

 

Before coming to western NY, Twan taught biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and led the Science and Conservation Office of the Connecticut Audubon Society. Prior to his current position, he was President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

Week 7

Chautauqua's Fisheries

Monday, August 5th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Justin Brewer
New York Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries

Justin Brewer is a fisheries biologist with NYSDEC’s Region 9 Allegany Office. He holds degrees in Natural Resource Conservation and Fisheries Technology from Finger Lakes Community College and a B.T. in Fisheries and Aquaculture from SUNY Cobleskill. 

 

Justin has been with Region 9 Fisheries for about 13 years.  His primary duties involve management of various inland warmwater fisheries resources in southern counties of Region 9, including Chautauqua Lake.  Born and raised on the banks of the Allegheny River in western NY, Justin has been an avid angler in Chautauqua Lake and surrounding waters for over 20 years.  He is grateful to pursue a career working on the same lakes, rivers, and streams that fueled his passion for fishing and resource conservation at a young age.  In his spare time, Justin enjoys spending time with family and friends, often fishing, hunting, hiking, traveling, gardening, and exploring wild places.

Week 8

Lecture Title TBD

Monday, August 12th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Courtney Wigdahl-Perry
SUNY Fredonia

Wigdahl-Perry is an aquatic ecologist, interested in lake response to natural and human-caused environmental changes on different spatial and temporal scales.

 

She embarked on her lake research journey in 2003, when she was an undergraduate student. During a summer fellowship that year, she studied high-elevation lakes in Montana and Wyoming with faculty members of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 

She took an interest in studying lakes, and the algae that were living there, and how humans’ interaction affects the ecosystem of the lake.

Now, 20 years later, Wigdahl-Perry is associate professor in SUNY Fredonia’s biology department

Week 9

Water Treatment Plant Tour

Monday, August 19th at 4:15PM

Meet at the Shoreline and Wetland Gardens (between Children's Beach and the Pier Building in Lower Miller Park)

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Mike Starks
Chautauqua Institution

Mike Starks is the superintendent of the Chautauqua Utility District (CUD). Thoroughly trained on the array of new management and diagnostic tools afforded by the new wastewater treatment plant, Starks is excited to lead the CUD into a new era of ecological responsibility and efficiency.

After working for two summers at the Chautauqua sewer plant, he secured a full-time position there and began working on the numerous certifications needed. 

A Chautauqua County native, Starks studied biology and water treatment facility management at Jamestown Community College and continued his education through the SUNY Empire correspondence course curriculum. 

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