Speaker Series: Unnatural Texas with Robin W. Doughty and Matt Turner

Doors open at 6:30 PM, Talk starts at 7:00 PM

In their book Unnatural Texas? The Invasive Species DilemmaRobin Doughty and Matt Turner investigate the problems posed by so-called invasive species. These non-native plants and animals are increasingly affecting the economic, medical, and ecological health of Texas. Their new book is both a primer and a “think piece.” Drawing upon arepresentative sample–from across the state and over five centuries–of approximately 20 non-native species (including mammals, birds, fish, insects, mollusks, trees, water plants, and fungi), they introduce readers to Texas’ “big hitters,” discuss a range of arguments for controlling them, and explore how culture and shifting attitudes influence their management.

In their presentation to Travis Audubon, Robin and Matt will focus more on birds, covering House Sparrows and European Starlings (and their challenges to Purple Martins), and hitting upon some of the complex interactions between invasive trees, like Chinese tallow and saltcedar, and native birdlife, like warblers, flickers, and doves, and the endangered Southwest Willow Flycatcher. The Monk Parakeet will serve as a telling reminder of nature’s dynamism and the nuance of exotic introduction.

Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing for $30 each (cash or check only).

Robin W. Doughty is Professor Emeritus of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. Robin great up in East Yorkshire, England, and after receiving degrees in England and in Italy, he earned a doctorate for the University of California at Berkeley. Robin has a longstanding professional and personal interest in wild animals, environmental change, and conservation. He has authored over 10 books on such subjects as the feather trade, the recovery of the endangered Whooping Crane, the Northern Mockingbird, the Purple Martin, the armadillo, the eucalyptus tree, and more recently the international steps being made to conserve albatrosses. He continues to travel the world extensively and lecture on physical geography, cultural history, and wildlife.

Matt Warnock Turner, a fifth-generation Texan, is a naturalist, teacher, and free-lance writer who works as a market researcher at UT’s McCombs School of Business. Son of a well-known botanist, he applies his humanities training (PhD in literature from Yale) to enrich our understanding of the plant kingdom around us.  He has published both scientific and popular works, including the award-winning, Remarkable Plants of Texas (2009).  He’s twice appeared as a guest on PBS’s “Central Texas Gardener” and starred in the PBS documentary, “Wildflowers: Seeds of History.”

 

 

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