Broad Range of Nature Topics to be Featured During Oct. 2 Forum and Subsequent Lectures

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Noted author and professor Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy will deliver the keynote lecture “Bringing Home Nature” during a daylong forum entitled “Our National Heritage--The Value and Necessity of Indigenous Plants and Animals” offered by SUNY Orange from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2 in Orange Hall Gallery on its Middletown campus.

PHOTO: Douglas TallamyThe forum, highlighting the importance of indigenous plants to the environment, will feature Tallamy’s keynote lecture (2 p.m. in Orange Hall Theatre); informational tables hosted by the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension; local vendors of native plants and materials; demonstrations; short presentations on invasive plants, invasive insects, and the SUNY Orange Educational Gardens Project; and two exhibits on indigenous trees and animals. Admission is free. Food, beverages and snacks will be available for purchase.

The Oct. 2 event kicks off a month-long focus by SUNY Orange on local environmental topics that will include lectures and presentations on sustaining native forests (Oct. 7), designing gardens with local flora (Oct. 13), attracting native birds with plants (Oct. 20), and creating winter gardens (Oct. 25). Indigenous plants are those that live or occur naturally in a particular region or environment.

Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home - How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants,” is professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. His current project--and the subject of his book and lecture--is the “Impact of Invasive plants on the Terrestrial Food Chain” in which he is working to quantify the degree to which alien plant species are reducing populations of native insect herbivores and the animals that depend on them. He will explain why sustaining indigenous plants and animals is essential to the health and survival of the environment.

Later in October, the College will host the following topical lectures: “Our Future Forests: Sustaining Native Forests and Wildlife” by William Schuster, Ph.D., executive director of Black Rock Forest Consortium, Oct. 7; “Growing Native by Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East” by Carolyn Summers, landscape architect and technical consultant, Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, Oct. 13; “Native Plants for Native Birds” by Joel Baines, Ph.D., the James Law Professor of Virology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 20; and “The Winter Garden: Beauty and Nourishment” by Francis Groeters, Ph.D., proprietor of Catskill Native Nursery, Oct. 25. All four lectures will be held in Orange Hall Gallery with each beginning at 7 p.m. on its respective evening. Admission is free.

Contributing to the environmental theme at SUNY Orange will be a pair of exhibits in Orange Hall Gallery entitled “Our Natural Heritage: Indigenous Trees ~ their Beauty and Importance” and “Our Natural Heritage: Indigenous Animal Wildlife in this Region.” Included in the exhibits are 32 educational panels on indigenous trees printed in large form from a research PowerPoint by Master Gardener Renee Stover, plus paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures by Orange County artists. These exhibits are sponsored by the Orange County Citizens Foundation and will be on display from Sept. 19 through Nov. 3.

The opening reception for the exhibits will begin at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, and include music by Patricia Eisenhart, who will perform on several flutes made of wood. Orange County poets Mary Makofske, Donna Spector, Joel Solonche, Joan Siegel, Paul Kane, Sandra Graff, Donna Reis and Howard Horowitz will present “Native Words,” poetry on trees and animals, beginning at 2:50 p.m.

The forum and accompanying lectures are jointly sponsored by the College’s Cultural Affairs program, Go.Green@sunyorange sustainability committee and Biology Department, along with the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Tallamy’s lecture is part of the College’s Shep and Edna Pryluck Distinguished Lecture Series and is sponsored by the SUNY Orange Foundation.

As owners of Pryluck’s Pharmacy in Middletown, Edna Pryluck and her late husband Shep came to know generations of families throughout the community. Their generous contributions to SUNY Orange symbolized their commitment to the community, and their gifts allowed the College to endow the Distinguished Lecture Series and to create a scholarship designed to benefit students demonstrating financial need and studying in SUNY Orange’s nursing program.

Questions on the forum, lectures or exhibits may be directed to Cultural Affairs at (845) 341-4891or Information may also be found at

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940