Cherished by Friends since 1982, the Luncheon-Lectures Series has provided many afternoons of warm reconnection and opportunities to hear engaging speakers. One of the hardest challenges the Friends board has faced this year is what to do about this popular series in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Luncheon-Lectures committee put together nine wonderful talks for the 2020–2021 series, but because of the pandemic we face an uncertain year. Since large in-person gatherings are not currently feasible, we will offer Lunchtime Lectures in a virtual format—see upcoming talks below or visit the Friends website. A modest fee of $10 each will be charged for the March through June programs. Preregistration will be required to access the online program. Once you are registered, you will be sent the link and instructions for joining the lecture. Multiple friends may watch together, but each person who wants to watch on their own device will need to register.

We encourage you to share this exciting programming with friends and family. For a change, we won’t have to worry about limiting attendance because of table and room space!

2021 Virtual Lunchtime Lectures

Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 12–1 p.m.
How Trees Built the Midwest – Jay Dampier

Learn stories behind four beloved trees that have shaped our region. Did you know that the popular Honeycrisp apples almost didn’t happen? What’s the possible link between Dutch elm disease and emerald ash borer issues in urban settings? Do you know that our state tree makes an important economic contribution to the state’s economy every spring? How about the relationship between birch trees, and higher social classes in Europe during the 1700s? Jay Dampier, PhD, is State Horticulture Outreach Program Manager, UW–Madison, Division of Extension.

Registration closed.

Past Lunchtime Lectures

Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 12–1 p.m.
Water Management at the UW Arboretum, Past to Present – David S. Liebl

Managing the Arboretum’s abundant water resources once focused on promoting wildlife conservation. Today the focus is on protecting the ecology of sensitive natural areas from urban stormwater 
runoff and supporting ecological restoration and research. Learn about how the Arboretum’s water resource landscape has been re-shaped over time in response to trends in ecological science and changes in the surrounding Lake Wingra watershed. We’ll discuss how climate change and urban runoff management provide both challenges and opportunities for the future of the Arboretum. David Liebl is the past chair of the Arboretum Stormwater Committee.

Monday, February 22, 2021, 12–1 p.m.
Tropical Forests and Elephants: Hunting, Poaching, and Conservation – Cooper Rosin

Dr. Rosin will focus on the ecological consequences of wild meat hunting and poaching for elephant ivory, and discuss the scientific and political challenges of conserving tropical forest wildlife. Cooper Rosin is a postdoctoral research associate in Ecological Studies at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. 
As an ecologist and conservation biologist, he studies the effects of human activities on tropical forests in order to better preserve these ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021,
 12–1 p.m.
Snakes: Getting to Know Your Mysterious Neighbors – Rebecca Christoffel

Snakes are mysterious to people, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be feared. Christoffel will dispel some of the myths commonly held about snakes and point out some similarities we share with snakes. The talk will explore why once a human develops a fear of snakes, it’s 
very hard to extinguish. Finally, learn about the declines in snake populations and the actions that individuals and communities can take to help snake populations. Rebecca Christoffel, PhD, is the founder of Snake Conservation Society and Christoffel Conservation

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 12–1 p.m.
Native Orchid Research and Restoration at The Ridges Sanctuary – Tony Kiszonas

The Ridges Sanctuary, located in Baileys Harbor, Door County, Wisconsin, is home to one of the most biologically diverse areas in Wisconsin. It is a premiere destination to see many of Wisconsin’s native orchid species. Unfortunately, some of these orchids are at risk of disappearing from this fragile landscape. Kiszonas will discuss orchids, why twenty-six native orchid species exist at The Ridges, and why orchid restoration is often a complicated and difficult process. Tony Kiszonas is a summer naturalist at The Ridges Sanctuary.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
, 12–1 p.m.
Let’s Talk Turkeys . . . and Other Wildlife that Call the Arboretum Home – Brad Herrick

The UW–Madison Arboretum is a highly regarded green space used by bikers, hikers, nature enthusiasts, citizen scientists, and those looking for peace and tranquility within an urban environment. In addition, the Arboretum is home to hundreds of different species of wildlife, from cryptic micro-moths to not-so-cryptic turkeys. Herrick will explore a range of questions: What makes the Arboretum good habitat for some animals but poor for others? How do we monitor wildlife? How does ecological restoration help (or hurt?) wildlife diversity? Brad Herrick is the ecologist and research program manager at the UW–Madison Arboretum.

Registration closed.