Looking into the future of local environment

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Dr. Andy Bramburger working in the field.

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences continues its Fall 2012 Science and Nature Speaker Series at the Cornwall Public Library on Wednesday with featured speaker Dr. Andy Bramburger from the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Bramburger will share his knowledge about alvars in eastern Ontario, and why they are so important to understanding important environmental changes. 

It’s probable you’ve seen an alvar: they are areas with a shallow limestone base with sparse vegetation, and are common along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario near Kingston, Odessa and Napanee. In fact, the Great Lakes region is home to approximately 120 alvars covering approximately 112 square kilometers, and Ontario is home to a large percentage of these.

Popular with birders, these small but extremely biodiverse areas are complex and very interesting habitats,  attracting endangered and critically important species such as Blanding’s turtle and the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike songbird. 

"Alvars are like the canary in the coal mine-by studying them, we have the unique ability to look ahead where climate change is concerned," said Bramburger. "I’ll explore the connections between my research in the Florida Everglades and my research in the alvars of Ontario - in fact, many species of plants, invertebrates and algae in our alvars are the same as those found in the Everglades— and why they are so important to understanding our future."

Bramburger will be at the Cornwall Public Library on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  Admission is free, however space is limited.  Please call the River Institute to reserve your seat (613) 936-6620.

Organizations: St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, Cornwall Public Library, Science and Nature Speaker Series

Geographic location: Ontario, St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario Kingston Napanee Great Lakes Everglades

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