Next Talk in Plant Restoration Series at Yale University Will Focus on Restoring Ecosystems in the Big Apple

Marc Matsil, chief of the Natural Resources Group of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreations, will be the next speaker in the semester-long Distinguished Lecturer lunchtime series at Yale University, titled “The Restoration Agenda: Focus on Plants.”

Matsil’s talk on Wednesday, March 3, is titled “Managing Ecosystems in the Big Apple: The Politics and Science of Funding, Acquisition, Restoration and Monitoring.” These weekly talks at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. The public is invited. Bring a brownbag lunch for the discussion following the talk. For registration information, call 432-3335 or e-mail aimlee.laderman@ yale.edu.

A native New Yorker, Matsil attended Columbia University. Upon graduation, he joined the National Park Service where he conducted wetland and meadow restoration projects as well as wildlife and vegetation surveys for the Alaska National Parks, Mount Rainier and Mesa Verde. In 1986, he became the assistant to Henry J. Stern, the New York City Parks Commissioner, and two years later was named the agency’s top employee.

As chief of the Natural Resources Group (NRG), Matsil’s job includes protecting the city’s ecosystems, cleaning up old landfills, making sure public works projects do not run roughshod over the environment, fighting the effects of oil spills and winning lawsuits against polluters– more than $60 million over the last decade, according to a recent report in The New York Times. He has also spearheaded the Parks Department’s acquisition of 2,000 acres of wetlands and woodlands on the fringes of the city.

NRG, which is comprised of scientists, natural resources managers, mapping specialists, biologists and restoration ecologists, is an international leader in restoration and parks management. Over the past ten years,NRG has published ecological assessments and technical management plans using Global Positioning Satellite Systems and integrated Geographic Information Systems. The plans support about $50 million of the group’s current restoration programs in a city that is home to more than 40 rare and endangered species contained in a 28,000-acre parks system.

This is the fourth year for the Yale School of Forestry “Restoration Agenda” lecture series. Co-sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration and the New Haven Land Trust, the lectures are designed to be of particular value to people involved in all aspects of natural resource management.

Lunchtime discussions following the talks provide an informal forum to encourage interaction among community members, government officials, and Yale students and faculty. With additional support from the Watershed Fund of the Regional Water Authority and Roots Inc., the lectures present state-of-the-art perspectives on the prevention and repair of environmental degradation.

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