Wabash College will host one of the nation’s foremost ecologists and conservationists when Dr. Douglas Tallamy visits campus as part of the President’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Dr. Tallamy will give a talk entitled, “Nature’s Best Hope,” on Monday, February 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Salter Hall of the Fine Arts Center.
Dr. Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. A graduate of Allegheny College, he earned a master’s degree from Rutgers and his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Maryland.
His research focuses on the impact on biodiversity when non-native plants are introduced in new ecosystems. He has written four books, including “Bringing Nature Home” and the New York Times Bestsellers, “The Living Landscape” and “Nature’s Best Hope.” His latest book is “The Nature of Oaks.”
Dr. Tallamy has been featured in scores of podcasts and interviews, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Associated Press, and numerous media outlets. He is the founder of Homegrown National Park, a grassroots call-to-action organization dedicated to regenerating biodiversity by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. The organization’s goal is to turn 20 million acres of manicured lawns into sites of native plantings and rich ecological diversity.
While researching the mating habits of the cucumber beetle decades ago, Dr. Tallamy looked for information on the association of native insects with invasive species. Finding very little, he shifted his focus to study how restoring native species of flora can recharge insect populations. Over the last 20 years, he has removed invasive species from his own property, which has returned hundreds of native insects, birds, and other wildlife. “Ninety percent of insects that eat plants can develop and reproduce only on the plants with which they share an evolutionary history,” Dr. Tallamy told Smithsonian Magazine.
In his talk at Wabash, Dr. Tallamy will discuss his research, commitment to caring for native plants and the wildlife they support, and give advice on how anyone can play a role in this important ecological work. Twenty years ago, Dr. Tallamy planted an acorn, which today is a 40-foot oak tree that has restored over 240 species of caterpillars to his property.
Dr. Tallamy’s lecture is free and open to the public.