Scientists Focusing on Insect Biodiversity and Insect Decline

If you're looking for a thought-provoking discussion on insect biodiversity and decline, mark your calendars.

Chemical ecologist and conservation biologist Leslie Saul-Gershenz of UC Davis and Norman Gershenz, conservation biologist and CEO of SaveNature.Org, will speak on “Is Insect Biodiversity, Biomass and Abundance Declining? What Can Be Done If It Is?” at a public talk on Monday night, March 2, at the Hillside Club's Fireside Lecture Series, Berkeley.

The husband-wife team of environmental scientists will address the audience at 7:30 p.m. The Bay Area venue is in north Berkeley at 2286 Cedar St., between Spruce and Arch streets. (See directions)

They will discuss what factors are affecting native bees and insect populations in California and around the world; review some of the latest body of literature on insect declines; and relate how people can participate to make a positive difference.

Also as part of the Fireside Lecture Series, Kathy Kramer, founder and coordinator of the “Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour” will discuss “Garden as If Life Depends on It: How Bringing Back the Natives Can Help You Do So” at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 6. 

The events are free and open to the public, but a $10 donation per talk is requested to benefit the speaker fund.

Leslie, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, is associate director of research, Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment, and on March 1, will join the research team at the USDA-ARS Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, Davis. She will continue collaborating with the John Muir Institute.

Norm and Leslie co-founded SaveNature.Org, an international conservation program, to "protect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide and to inspire stewardship in the public through hands-on education programs." Norm serves as the chief executive officer and director of the Insect Discovery Lab (IDL). (See article on the duo.)

SaveNature.Org conducts nearly 800 hands-on conservation education programs in schools throughout the Greater Bay Area, and reaches more than 38,500 children annually with its IDL. Their work has been highlighted in National GeographicTime magazine, and ABC's World News Tonight. Robert Pringle's recent article, Upgrading Protected Areas to Conserve Wild Biodiversity, in the journal Nature, details the organization's collaborative work to increase the size of protected areas.

The Hillside Club is a neighborhood social club established in 1898 to promote good design practices in the Berkeley hills; today it is a community-based membership organization supporting the arts and culture.