Our second annual Fall Luncheon, held on September 16, was a resounding success. More than eighty supporters enjoyed beautiful weather and a sumptuous lunch under a tent in a research field in the middle of our 2,000-acre campus. It was a perfect setting for Aldo Leopold Society members, Benefit Committee members, Trustees, and their guests to learn more about the Cary Institute’s wide range of environmental research programs.
Cary Institute's Peter Groffman gave a lively talk about how the increasingly variable timing of seasonal changes affects plants and animal life. In spring, trees are flowering and leafing out earlier, making them vulnerable to late frosts. Insects are emerging earlier, creating chaos for animals, such as migratory birds, that eat them. Fall is getting warmer and longer, but our native vegetation is often unable to exploit these new conditions, while invasive exotic species are.
Just how early does a bird need to be to catch a worm these days? One thing is certain: climate change makes the timing of seasonal changes harder to predict, which can be lethal for plants and animals whose lives depend on getting it right. What is also certain is that “the ecosystem approach” as applied by the Cary Institute, with its focus on long-term, multidisciplinary studies of complex problems, is the best way to address these challenges.
Our third Fall Luncheon is slated for next September 15th. You won’t want to miss it.