Three of the State’s most knowledgeable and thoughtful observers of the effects of climate change on Maine’s natural environments and wildlife will join in a special discussion on Monday, April 4, at the Auburn Public Library. “Climate Change and the Landscapes of Maine” will be presented at the monthly meeting of the Stanton Bird Club at 6 p.m.. The program is free and open to the public.
The panel of experts will focus on the consequences of global warming for Maine’s own forests, waters, and wildlife. Informed by the latest scientific evidence as well as by extensive field research and observation, the three presenters will document through specific examples from the local natural environments some of the changes which are already underway. They will also emphasize what now seem to be scientific certainties about future changes, while acknowledging points of uncertainty. In announcing the program, Carl B. Straub, vice president of the Club, said “This is a program about Maine’s probable future which we hope will interest a wide range of citizens, including civic leaders. Everyone is welcomed to attend.”
The presenters are Andrew Cutko, an ecologist for Maine’s Natural Areas Program; Peter McKinley, climate adaptation ecologist for the northeast region of The Wilderness Society; and Barbara Vickery, Director of Conservation Programs for the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Vickery will also chair the panel. All three panelists have more than 20 years experience in studying regional and local natural habitats.
Cutko, a licensed forester in Maine, has worked for both the U.S. Forest Service and as a consultant for private timber management. In 2010 the New England Wildflower Society, the nation’s oldest plant conservation organization, honored Cutko for his “exceptional achievement” in environmental work. He recently co-authored an important book on “Natural Landscapes of Maine’ [available through the State’s Natural Areas Program]. Cutko has a master’s degree in forestry from Duke University.
Before joining The Wilderness Society, Peter McKinley was staff biologist at New Hampshire Audubon, researcher on forest songbirds and commercial forest management at the Manomet Center for Conservation Science, and Director of Forestland Conservation at the Forest Society of Maine. McKinley has done extensive forestry and estuarine research in Indiana, New England, and New Brunswick. He holds a master’s degree from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Barbara Vickery, a botanist by training, has been central to the research, planning, and advocacy of the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy for 28 years. Before becoming Director of Conservation Programs, Vickery served as Director of Science and Stewardship, and as Director of Conservation Planning. She has been a member of the Maine Forest Biodiversity Project. Her work includes projects in the Appalachian/Boreal/Acadian eco-region of four states and three Canadian provinces, as well as projects involving both the freshwaters and the Gulf of Maine.
The Stanton Bird Club, founded in 1919, owns and manages the 372-acre Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston and the 400-acre Woodbury Sanctuary in Litchfield and Monmouth. Its environmental education programs include programs for local school children and an extensive set of field trips. It meets the first Monday of every month, September through May. For more information on the Club, visit its website.