MANCHESTER — A noted ecologist and author will present the keynote address at the Manchester Essex Conservation Trust’s annual meeting on Sunday.
Ecologist Tom Wessels, professor emeritus at Antioch University New England where he founded the master’s degree program in conservation biology, will speak when the trust holds its annual meeting this Sunday, Nov. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Magnolia Library, 1 Lexington Ave. in Gloucester’s Magnolia section. It is free to the public.
Besides Wessels’ talk there will be a brief business meeting that will include a summary of organizational accomplishments over the past year, as well as a bylaw amendment and a slate of trustees and officers for trust members to consider for 2020.
Wessels’ talk will focus on the principle of self-organization, a natural process in which as a system grows it also becomes more complex. He’ll also concentrate on how the process works in ecosystems via co-evolution to generate the incredible biodiversity seen in nature.
“Tom Wessels has spent most of his adult life studying the New England landscape and has developed a unique ability to ‘read’ the signs of past natural and human impacts —from the sculpting hand of glaciers to evidence of the agricultural pursuits of our colonial forebears,” said Jim Behnke of the conservation trust.
“When applied to biological systems (e.g., an ecosystem like our local forest areas), this model provides a means of understanding the interdependencies of different parts of the system and how they work together to achieve energy efficiency, which, according to Tom, is ‘the currency of evolution,’ Behnke continued. “As complexity increases, the system grows more resilient and stable, allowing it to successfully adapt to the threats of invasive species, pathogens, and, yes, even climate change.
“So, what about climate change? If you’re a nature lover like me, it’s hard to be optimistic about our planet’s future given the lack of urgency on the part of our political leaders. But, according to Tom, there are reasons for hope,” Behnke said. “It’s possible for complex systems, such as the relationship between the economy and the fossil fuel industry, to be disrupted by major change events, their stability and resilience notwithstanding. This principle applies to economic, biological, social movements alike.”
Wessels is the author of numerous books, including “Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England,” “Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape,” and his latest, “Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia.” His talk at the trust’s meeting is sponsored by The Echo Charitable Foundation
“I’m looking forward to hearing more from Tom Wessels on November 10th,” Behnke said, extending an open invitation, “and I hope you will decide to attend.”
IF YOU GO
What and who: The public is invited to the Manchester Essex Conservation Trust's Annual Meeting featuring keynote speaker Tom Wessels.
When: Sunday, Nov. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Where: Magnolia Library, 1 Lexington Ave., Magnolia.
How much: Free, although reservations are encouraged at mect.org