Dr. Christopher Norment will describe his experiences with ornithological fieldwork in the western part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, at the edge of the Bering Sea – one of the most important waterfowl breeding grounds in Alaska. He will speak of his work as part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team working on annual studies of breeding bird nest productivity, and will introduce the audience to a wild and beautiful landscape, as well as to birds such as the Spectacled Eider, Emperor Goose, and Sabine’s Gull.
Chris Norment is a professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York, where he specializes in the breeding biology, ecology, and conservation of migratory birds. In addition to numerous scientific articles, he is the author of four books of creative nonfiction, most of which seek to integrate personal narrative and lyrical descriptions of the natural world with the results of scientific research. His most recent book is Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction, and Conservation in a Desert World, which is a meditation upon the wonder and tragedy of rare and endangered species. Set in the Death Valley region, the book tells the stories of six rare desert species, all of which are restricted to aquatic habitats: four types of pupfishes, a toad, and a salamander. The book uses their stories to illustrate the beauty of evolution and ecology, and explore ethical and practical issues of conservation: just what are these species worth, why are they rare, and what would the cost of their extinctions be?