February 2, 2017

Women in Science: Lunch Series

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Feed your mind while you eat your lunch! In partnership with the Harris Center, PTL will celebrate Women’s History Month  with a brown bag lunch series featuring four New Hampshire women scientists. Please bring your own lunch. All programs begin at 12:00pm.
According to The Status of Women in New Hampshire, 2015 – a report issued by the Institute on Women’s Policy Research – only 24.6% of those working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are women. Come find out what at least four of them have been up to and how their work is shaping our understanding of the world!

March 8 • Dr. Pamela Hunt – Effects of Climate Change on New Hampshire’s Birds
We’re already seeing some of the effects of climate change in New Hampshire, with a trend toward warmer winters, more extreme weather, and drier summers. How will our birds be affected by these changes over the next several decades? We don’t know all the answers, but there’s enough information to allow some informed speculation. In this talk, we’ll explore subjects as diverse as range shifts, declining food supplies, and changes in migration patterns as they apply to the birds of New Hampshire. What will birders in the 22nd century encounter in the Granite State’s forests, fields, and wetlands? Come learn a little about the possibilities.

Check out our reading list here on birds.

12:00pm March 15 • Dr. Nora Traviss – Is Burning Biofuels a Healthier Alternative?
Renewable fuels like biodiesel and wood are often considered better for the environment because of their immediate displacement of fossil fuels. While there are many benefits to biofuels, less is known about their impact on human health. At Keene State College, Dr. Traviss has conducted research into the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of biodiesel particulate matter, as well as the impacts of wood smoke on public health. Her talk will explore her research, reflect on the results to date, and offer ideas for future actions that individuals and communities can take to support both community and environmental health.

12:00pm March 22 • Dr. Denise Burchsted – Weaving is Women’s Work: Weaving Science and Engineering Together to Restore Rivers
Many of us envision rivers as systems that are naturally free-flowing, and river restoration projects often focus on removing dams to restore this natural flow. However, many rivers without direct human influence are dramatically altered by natural dams. These “natural dams” – especially beaver dams – create ponds. And those ponds subsequently fill in, resulting in wet meadows. The animals of the Northeast have evolved within this patchwork of free-flowing, ponded, and meadow habitats; different life stages of many species depend on the different components of the patchwork. In this talk, Dr. Burchsted will describe that patchiness and present case studies of rivers in the process of “rewilding” without human intervention, demonstrating the need to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the complexity of rivers.

12:00pm March 29 • Brett Amy Thelen – Why Did the Salamander Cross the Road?
Salamander Citizen Science in the Monadnock Region As the earth thaws and spring rains drench New Hampshire, thousands of salamanders, frogs, and toads make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when their journeys take them across busy roads. Studies have shown that this road mortality can have a significant impact on local amphibian populations, and that efforts to protect migrating amphibians can reverse the negative trend. Before towns can consider solutions like focused land protection efforts, amphibian tunnels, or temporary detours they must first locate the amphibian road crossing hotspots in their communities and gain public support for amphibian conservation. Enter the Salamander Crossing Brigades, in which trained volunteers move migrating amphibians across roads by hand during one or more “Big Nights” each spring, keeping count as they go. Join Brett Amy Thelen for an introduction to the Salamander Brigades, and to learn how you too can participate in this celebrated citizen science initiative.

Thank you to Susie Spikol and The Harris Center for arranging this series!

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Author: Corinne Chronopoulos
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