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Leading Ecology Scholar Visits Bennington College as the 2008 Woodworth Lecturer in the Sciences

Mar 07, 2008

President of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, William H. Schlesinger visits Bennington College to speak as the College’s 2008 Woodworth Lecturer in the Sciences on Monday, March 17, 2008. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place in Barn 100 at 7:30 pm.

Dr. Schlesinger’s research—featured on National Public Radio, CNN, PBS's NOVA, and within the pages of Discover magazine, National Geographic magazine, The New York Times, and Scientific American—concerns environmental chemistry and global change. He was among the first to quantify the amount of carbon held in soil, providing estimates of the role of soil in climate change and of human impacts on forests and soil. Dr. Schlesinger’s work has led him to testify before U.S. House and Senate Committees on a variety of environmental issues, including preservation of desert habitats, global climate change, and carbon sequestration.

Authoring and coauthoring more than 180 scientific papers on environmental chemistry and global change, in addition to the widely adopted textbook, Biogeochemistry, Dr. Schlesinger is a leader in environmental science. Before his recent move to head the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, a private ecological research organization of international standing, Dr. Schlesinger taught as part of the faculty at Duke University for 27 years—retiring in the spring of 2007 as the Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and as the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry.

He was elected a member of The National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and was President of the Ecological Society of America for 2003-2004. He is also a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, and the Soil Science Society of America. His past work has taken him to diverse habitats, ranging from Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia to the Mojave Desert of California, and three times as a Duke alumni tour guide to Antarctica.

Established in 1988 by former students, the Robert H. Woodworth Science Lecture Series honors a longtime Bennington biology faculty member and a pioneer in the development of time-lapse photography. The founding of the lectureship was spearheaded by five alumnae: Edith Stevens Sheldon ’43, Susan Hedge Hossfeld ’42, Jane Wellington Merrill ’40, Dotha Seaverns Welbourn ’41, and Rebecca B. Stickney ’43.