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Preview/Review (Oct. 27 to Nov. 9)

A review and previews of some fun and informative U events and lectures occurring through Nov. 9

This issue features an environmental events theme

Ponder Hawk 165
Julia Ponder, executive director of the Raptor Center, with a Galapagos hawk.

October 25, 2011

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on or near the UMTC campus.

"Duke Lecture: The Galapagos--Fragile Past, Brighter Future"
At the Raptor Center's (TRC) annual Duke Lecture on Oct. 21, Julia Ponder, executive director, and Lori Arent, clinic manager, shared their experiences working with Galapagos hawks in the Galapagos Islands.

It all began about a year ago, when Galapagos National Park, the Charles Darwin Foundation, and Island Conservation asked the Raptor Center to work with them to design and implement a mitigation plan to protect Galapagos hawks during a project to eradicate invasive rats on 10 small islands in the Galapagos. Invasive rats are responsible for 90 to 95 percent of extinctions on islands around the world, and the request spoke volumes about TRC's reputation and expanding role in collaborative activities aimed at global conservation of raptors.

Drawing on more than 35 years of expertise in raptor medicine and captive management, TRC staff formulated a plan to bring 20 of the endemic Galapagos hawks into captivity for seven weeks and designed temporary housing for the birds. Ponder and Arent traveled to the Galapagos, working with a local team to capture the hawks, examine each bird, introduce them to their temporary home, and monitor the hawks' health in captivity. In February, the hawks were released onto the islands where they were originally captured, each fitted with a radio transmitter to allow tracking over the course of the following year.

The Duke Lecture explored human impacts on islands, restoring the natural world, and threats to island populations, such as habitat destruction, climate change, and invasive species. Despite their remote location 621 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands have experienced 1,400 introduced species, which have changed the landscape.

Ponder explained that islands tend to have unique species and be focal points for extinctions and discussed how TRC became involved in the project. She recalled the remarkable naiveté or "tameness" of native species and discussed other Galpagos wildlife, from Galapagos tortoises to the endemic Galapagos rice rat and the incredible variety of avian species.

Arent explored the origin and physiology of the Galapagos hawk and discussed the hawks' unique social structure, "cooperative polyandry," in which the family group consists of one female with up to eight males. She explained how the team captured the hawks by luring them with food; recounted the hazards of walking over wet lava rocks; and recalled her experiences with energetic park guards, unexpectedly rainy weather, and the cuisine, which included chicken soup with an ingredient she wasn't accustomed to: chicken feet.

The audience, which packed a lecture room in the Pomeroy Student-Alumni Learning Center in St. Paul, was fascinated, and peppered the pair with questions about the Galapagos hawk, other Galapagos wildlife, and the future of the project.

Founded by Drs. Gary Duke and Patrick Redig as part of the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1974, the Raptor Center rehabilitates more than 700 sick and injured raptors each year while helping to identify emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. It also trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world in raptor medicine and surgery and reaches thousands of people every year through public education programs and events. About 60 percent of its support comes from private contributions.

The Duke Lecture Series was established in 2006 by Dr. William H. and Mary E. Holleman in memory of Dr. Gary Duke. It features speakers on the topics of avian medicine and conservation.

Learn more about the Raptor Center.

--Review by Sue Kirchoff, College of Veterinary Medicine


Previews are the editor’s choice, selected for variety, uniqueness, oddness, impact, and whimsy. Submit your events to Events that feature U faculty and staff are preferred. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free.

The Changing Arctic: International Cooperation and Development. Oct. 27, 1–6 p.m., Cowles Arctic 165Auditorium, Humphrey Center. Cost: $5-15. Recent Arctic research shows summer sea ice reached one of the lowest levels on record this year. Changes to the environment coupled with other social and economic factors are leading to an array of questions facing Arctic nations. Who owns the vast resources beneath the Arctic Ocean? What's the role of international cooperation and diplomacy in the far north? How will climate change impact Arctic waterways, infrastructure, and ecosystems? How will changes and developments in the Arctic increasingly impact Minnesota?

This symposium presented by the Consulate General of Canada, the Will Steger Foundation, and the University of Minnesota, will explore international cooperation and development in the Arctic.
Consul General Martin Loken and polar explorer Will Steger will provide opening remarks to kick off the half-day symposium.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. Oct. 28, 7 p.m., Bell Museum. Cost: $8 public, $5 members, UMN students, faculty, and staff. Back by popular demand, the Bell Museum will host another screening of the first-ever full-length documentary about the life and work of Aldo Leopold. The film explores the legendary conservationist and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied around the world today. The film screening will be introduced by U professor Rob Blair, a conservation biologist and expert on environmental ethics and leader of the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program.

Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries: A 10-chef, 1-fish, happy birthday bash. Nov. 1, 4–6:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Cost: $10. Sustainable Fisheries 165Join UMD's Minnesota Sea Grant program in a tribute to the people involved in managing, harvesting, selling, studying, and preparing Lake Superior's commercially harvested fish.

Before the doors open to the public, ten of the Midwest's finest chefs will be competing for $1,000 and American Culinary Federation honors. The competition, which focuses on creating an entrée from lake herring caught from the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior, will end before the public event, but ticketed guests will be given a fork and the opportunity to sample the chefs' lake herring creations. While savoring the flavors, partygoers can listen to North Shore musician Michael Monroe, and chat with the chefs and University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor Lendley Black.

The "Salute" also celebrates Sea Grant founder Athelstan Spilhaus, former dean of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology (now the College of Science and Engineering). The inspirational, controversial, provocative Dr. Spilhaus would have turned 100 years old in November 2011.

IonE Frontiers in the Environment Wednesday lectures: "Harnessing Sustainability and the Green Economy for Market Transformation," with Tim Nolan, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Nov. 2, noon–1 p.m., R380 IonE seminar room, VoTech Bldg., St. Paul campus or via UMConnect. What is the sustainability movement really all about? How we can go beyond conventional approaches to gain widespread adoption, market transformation, and competitive advantage? Nolan will offer a practitioner's perspective and focus on forces driving the transition to a clean green economy using insightful examples to illustrate key issues.

Thursday Evening in a Cup sponsored by Café Imports. Nov 3, 5:30–8:30 p.m. Bell Museum. Cost: Free Coffee Bell 165for members, U students/faculty/staff. The last issue of "Preview/Review" carried a review of an Oct. Thursday Evening special event at the Bell. Likewise, this next and final special event in the Bell's "Coffee: The World in Your Cup," exhibit will likely prove just as entertaining.

Representatives from Café Imports will lead you on a journey in search of great coffee at the exhibit. Starting from farms around the world, to green beans, to roasting and "cupping," you will get the chance to experience the process through which coffee travels to you. Spend your evening exploring the Coffee exhibit and the challenging issues surrounding the farming and production of one of the world's most popular beverages.

Activities for this evening will include cupping demonstrations, coffee sampling, and a family-friendly, hands-on activity. Experts on hand will include staff from Café Imports and from the U—Guillermo Narvaez, Guillermo Velasquez, and Dean Current.

"An Alternative Ontology of Food: Beyond Meataphysics," with Lisa Heldke, professor of philosophy, Gustavus Adolphus. Nov. 4, 3:30–5 p.m., 1-132 Carlson School of Management. Heldke, an expert in American philosophy, feminist philosophy, the philosophy of food, and Race Theory, will discuss her essay exploring some well-traveled territory—the area in which eating and suffering come together. Heldke will scrutinize some foods that are often portrayed as unambiguously either good (homegrown organic vegetables) or bad (foie gras), and answer the question, "How should we eat?" She draws on Kelly Oliver's call for an ethics of "sustaining relationships," grounded in an approach that views foods not as substances, but as loci of relations.

E3 2011: The Latest in Renewable Energy Innovation. Nov. 7, McNamara Alumni Center. Hosted by the U's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, a program of the Institute on the Environment, the annual E3 conference explores the latest technical innovations, scientific breakthroughs, and policy incentives in renewable energy. This year representatives from academia, business, industry, government, the media and other sectors will hear from entrepreneurs who are spearheading successful renewable energy ventures in the U.S. and abroad. E3 2011 will feature research breakthroughs at the U, corporate success stories, and Germany's path to becoming a global energy leader. Highlights include a welcome from U president Eric Kaler, a keynote speech by Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic and host of The Atlantic's Technology Channel, and an afternoon filled with success stories and research breakthroughs from U of M faculty.

Alan Bjerga discusses Endless Appetites. Nov. 7, 4–5 p.m., Coffman Union bookstore. The international food crisis—particularly the availability and affordability of food products—has become one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Endless Appetites explores how crop markets—first established in the 1800s to help stabilize agricultural commodity prices—are increasingly acting like an investors' casino, with prices absorbed by rich nations taking food from the mouths of poor ones. The book takes the reader inside the commodities system at the center of the heartbreaking rise in worldwide hunger and considers how to solve the problem of food security for everyone. Bjerga will sign copies of his book following the discussion.

IonE Frontiers in the Environment Wednesday lectures: "The Frugal Future," with Chris Farrell, Economics Editor, "Marketplace Money," American Public Media. Nov. 9, noon–1 p.m., R380 IonE seminar room, VoTech Bldg., St. Paul campus or via UMConnect. Yogi Berra famously quipped, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." But Farrell is willing to predict that, over the coming decade, the rise of the mobile Internet and the push for sustainability will transform the economy, driving the next wave of creative destruction (economist Joseph Schumpeter's phrase for the process by which new technologies, markets, and organizations supplant the old). For too long society equated living better with owning lots of stuff, much of it bought on credit. We always knew that wasn’t quite right—and that what gives us real joy are experiences, learning, creativity, spirituality, friends, and family. The promise of the new economy is the opportunity for a life made better not by ownership but by greater flexibility and meaning.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Review submissions should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.