Lyceum Programs April 9, April 16 and April 23

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Date: April 4, 2011
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

 2011 Lyceum Series "Trying To See The Forest For The Trees: Forest Health In The Rocky Mountains"

Saturday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. Wildland Fire Management at Rocky Mountain National Park

Wildland fire is an integral component of the forests, shrublands, and grasslands of Rocky Mountain National Park, performing a variety of ecological functions. Fires have shaped the park landscape for centuries, and will shape it in years to come. How does park management reduce the hazard of wildfire and at the same time restore its natural role on the landscape? Join Mike Lewelling, Fire Management Officer for the park as he outlines recent wildland fire planning efforts and the park's Wildland Fire Management program, using last year's Cow Creek fire as an example. Mike has been the Fire Management Officer at Rocky for four years, previously he was in that position at Lassen Volcanic National Park for five years.  

Saturday, April 16, 7:00 p.m. Bark Beetle Epidemics in the West

Over the past fifteen years, a number of different epidemics of native species of bark beetles have erupted across the forests of the western United States and Canada. These epidemics have garnered widespread attention from the public because of their extent and intensity, relative to previously recorded outbreaks. Jeff Witcosky, US Forest Service - Forest Health Protection, manages a small forest pest management staff that works on forest insects and diseases in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. Major areas include the spruce beetle, mountain pine beetle, exotic, invasive bark beetles, white pine blister rust of five-needle pines, and the identification and management of hazardous trees on federal lands. Jeff will be describing the biology and ecology of the mountain pine beetle to illustrate some of the characteristics of these insects in our western forests.

Jeff received his MS and PhD in Entomology from Oregon State University. He has worked in forest entomology for 28 years, mostly in Forest Health Protection with the US Forest Service.

Saturday, April 23, 7:00 p.m. Impacts of Mountain Pine Beetle on Ponderosa Pine in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range

As mountain pine beetle populations move over the Continental Divide and expand along the Front Range, an interagency team of researchers has been investigating the impacts of this native insect on forests. Will these beetle "switch hosts" to ponderosa pine from lodgepole pine?  Does previous management of ponderosa pine forests, by treatments such as prescribed burning or thinning, alter their resilience to beetles? Dr. Jenny Briggs, Research Ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center in Denver, will present preliminary findings of field studies at 45 sites throughout the Front Range, including 6 sites in Rocky Mountain National Park. Her research results should help guide future adaptive management of Front Range forests, as well as allowing residents and visitors to predict and understand the impacts of this major natural disturbance.  

Jenny obtained a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, where she studied the effects of prescribed and wild fires on pine forests in the eastern Sierra.

The theme of the 2011 Lyceum Series is "Trying To See The Forest For The Trees: Forest Health In The Rocky Mountains." The forests in and around Rocky Mountain National Park provide wonderful benefits such as water, recreation, wildlife habitat, timber, and other forest products. They are, however, vulnerable to a wide variety of stressors. RMNP will invite regional experts to answer visitor questions on insects, diseases, exotics, invasives, wildfire, prescribed burns, ozone/pollutants, wildlife/biodiversity, watersheds, soils, and forests as indicators of climate change.

The Lyceum schedule runs through May 14. Financial support for the lyceum series is provided by the park's nonprofit partner, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association. Programs are free and open to the public. They are held at 7:00 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center auditorium in Rocky Mountain National Park. For more information please call the park's Information Office (970) 586-1206.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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