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Lectures at Eagle Hill

Lecture programs are free. They run for about an hour, including time for questions. Start times are noted in the calendar below.

They begin with a reception 45 minutes before the start of the lecture. This is a pleasant time to mingle with guests over complimentary juice, iced tea, or a glass of wine. The lecture room has some café tables, each seating 4 guests. Beverages may be enjoyed during the lectures.

Each lecture is followed by an optional family-style dinner in the old dining hall. This is a chance to mingle with resident guests at Eagle Hill who are participating in a seminar or workshop program. Reservations need to be made by 10AM of the program day. Dinner details and menus.

For dinner reservations ... 207-546-1219 ... joerg@eaglehill.us

Eagle Hill Institute, PO Box 9, Steuben, ME 04680

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Program title.
Descriptions and bios are the at end of this page.

Presenter name

2019 Programs ... This calendar will be updated as new lectures are planned.
May 23, 5PM Thu Gratitude as a Cultural Motif in Japan: Memorial Services for Broken Needles, Old Dolls, and Laboratory Animals Christal Whelan
May 30, 5PM Thu From Quackery to the Nobel Prize: An Unorthodox View of Cancer Immunotherapy Ralph W. Moss
Jun 13, 5PM Sat Probable Pre-contact Consumption of Native Fishes by Indigenous Peoples in Maine and coastal New England David Halliwell
Jun 15, 3PM Sat Global Climate Change and Eastern Maine: A Detailed Consideration Harold Borns
Jun 19, 5PM Wed Maine's Forest Pharmacy Steven Foster
Jun 20, 5PM Thu Adventures in the Uttermost Part of the Earth: A Biologist in Patagonia Donald Pfister
Jun 27, 5PM Thu Of Bugs and Birds .. A Relationship in Peril Kefyn Catley
Jul 13, 5PM Sat Lizzie van Lew: The North's Most Successful Spy During the Civil War Steven Garrett
Jul 20, 5PM Sat Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability Douglas Allen
Jul 31, 5PM Wed Native Plants as Insect Habitat Charley Eiseman
Aug 1, 5PM Thu The Bolete Mushrooms in New England: A Guide to the Best and the Questionable Greg Marley and Michaeline Mulvey
Aug 7, 5PM Wed The Natural History of the Moths of Maine Jason Dombroskie
Aug 8, 5PM Thu Water-lilies (Nymphaeaceae): The Beautiful Species of the Water World C. Barre Hellquist
Aug 13, 5PM Tues Fraught Wonder: Reactions to the Rise of Science in “The Sensitive Plant” by Percy Bysshe Shelley Hayley Kolding
Aug 14, 5PM Wed Aquatic Insects: What Are They? Where Are They? And What Have They Done For Us (Or To Us) Lately! Steven Burian
Aug 15, 5PM Thu Amazing Stories and Specimens from the Harvard University Herbaria Michaela Schmull
Aug 21, 5PM Wed Linnaeus, the Second Adam Robbin Moran
Aug 22, 5PM Thu Bioluminescence: The Mystique and Science of Living Cold Light David Porter
Oct 5, 5PM Sat Communication and Control in the Human Endocrine System Allan Kleinman

Program descriptions.

May 23
Gratitude as a Cultural Motif in Japan: Memorial Services for Broken Needles, Old Dolls, and Laboratory Animals
Throughout most of the country’s history, Japan’s two main religious traditions – indigenous Shinto and imported Buddhism – have enjoyed a functional symbiosis. Shinto’s animistic worldview gave rise to rituals of life and fertility, while Buddhism handled the darker realities of death through a series of complex rituals. Within the spiritual economy of the Japanese, where no neat line exists between the animate and inanimate, whatever has rendered service to humans, upon its "death" is gratefully acknowledged. Through Buddhist memorial services, broken needles, old dolls or combs, and laboratory animals are all duly remembered.
    Christal Whelan, Ph.D., anthropologist and author, specializes in Japan where she lived for a decade and immersed herself in the country’s religious traditions, worked as a columnist for a national newspaper, and taught at various Japanese universities in Kyoto and Tokyo. She was initiated into the community of yamabushi or “mountain ascetics” of Mt. Haguro in northern Japan, and later received ordination at Koyasan (one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist monasteries). In her earliest work, she lived among the “Hidden Christians” in the remote Goto Islands, translating their bible into English (The Beginning of Heaven and Earth, University of Hawai'i Press), and producing the documentary film Otaiya. Christal currently resides in north central Massachusetts learning farming and permaculture.

May 30
From Quackery to the Nobel Prize: An Unorthodox View of Cancer Immunotherapy
Over the past 50 years, we have seen cancer immunotherapy progress from inclusion on a list of “quack” treatments to the subject of the 2018 Nobel Prize. The story began in 13th century Italy with the “spontaneous remission” of the foot cancer of St. Peregrine Laziosi. (He is now the patron saint of cancer patients.) In the mid-19th century, German scientists connected such remissions with strep infections. In 1893, William B. Coley, MD, began to cure cancer with vaccines made of killed bacteria. But modern immunotherapy really began with the FDA’s 2011 approval of Yervoy, as well as Opdivo and Keytruda. Today, cancer immunotherapy has become the “fourth modality of cancer treatment” and Keytruda is among the top-selling cancer drug in history.
    The medical writer Ralph W. Moss, PhD, has written or edited twelve books and four film documentaries on questions relating to cancer research and treatment. A graduate of New York and Stanford Universities, he is the former science writer and assistant director of public affairs of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (1974-1977). Since 1977, Moss has independently evaluated the claims of cancer treatments all over the world. He writes Moss Reports on 40 of the most common cancer diagnoses and provides consultations for cancer patients and their families. In 2019, he wrote The Ultimate Guide to Cancer: DIY Research.

June 13
Probable Pre-contact Consumption of Native Fishes by Indigenous Peoples in Maine and coastal New England
Circa 4,500 years past, freshwater and coastal marine fishes in the New England region were generally plentiful and relatively easy to harvest. In the late spring, native peoples traditionally gathered at natural waterfalls to harvest the abundant runs of ascending river herring, shad, sturgeon, salmon, striped bass, eel and lamprey. Less migratory tomcod and smelt, as well as estuarine white perch, were captured in simply-built fishing weirs set in coastal rivers. They also could have traveled inland through streamside woodlands to capture trout, suckers and nesting fallfish or freshwater cod/burbot and whitefish. Thru the heat of the summer, native peoples fishing from dugout canoes are known to have harvested marine cod and sculpin and various flounder-flatfish species. In the fall, native peoples possibly captured pickerel, sunfish, yellow perch and bullhead, fishing with spears and possibly harpoons, along the shorelines or from their birch bark canoes. Fish were cooked in the open air on fire hearths and air-dried on racks in the hot sun to preserve their storage value for extended periods of time thru the winter months.
    David Halliwell received his Ph.D. in Fishery Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1989), specializing in freshwater fish conservation, aquatic habitat classification, and vertebrate taxonomy. He has been employed as an Aquatic Biologist with Maine DEP (Augusta) since 1999. Dave has spent over three decades identifying and investigating the habitats of freshwater fishes while working with northeastern State and Federal fish and water quality agencies and has considerable experience teaching University and field courses related to New England fish and wildlife. Related interests include pre-contact indigenous fish archaeological studies, aquatic habitat restoration, hydropower-flow issues, reservoir water levels, lake water quality assessment and freshwater fish zoogeographic studies. Dr. Halliwell is a co-author of the Inland Fishes of Massachusetts (2002) and is currently drafting a treatise on the Freshwater Fishes of New England proper.

June 15
Global Climate Change and Eastern Maine: A Detailed Consideration
    Session 1 (1.5 Hours) … This session will focus on our present Ice Age and where we are today. This Ice Age started 2.5 million years ago and we have now experienced nine cycles of 100 k yrs.of continental glaciation and 10 -15k yrs of interglaciation. Our present interglacial started 10,000 years ago. This geological record will focus on Maine, Maine’s Washington County and the Gulf of Maine.
    Session 2: (1.5 Hours) … A discussion of the fundamentals of our increasing human-induced Global Warming. This started with the increasing production of CO 2 and other greenhouse gasses with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s , early 1800’s/ In this regard we will examine the congressionally mandated 4th Climate Assessment released in November 2018. We will also look at what is going on with Maine’s climate changes and associated ocean temperature and what can we predict for the future sea-level rise in the Gulf of Maine.
    Harold Borns Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Glacial and Ice Age Geology at the University of Maine at Orono. His research has had a long term focus on the glacial history of Maine and the Northeast. However, he has worked on all of the continents except Australia, including 28 field seasons in Antarctica. He has published about 125 scientific journal articles and is responsible, along with colleague Dr. Woodrow Thompson, for the current Surficial Geologic Map of Maine. His signature book, “The Ice Age World” was first published in 1994 with co-author Dr. Bjorn Andersen of Norway. Hal has “failed retirement" with active research projects in Maine and Ireland and has received many scientific awards. On loan from the University of Maine he served as Program Director for Polar Glaciology at the National Science Foundation for three years.

Jun 19
Maine's Forest Pharmacy
Exploring medicinal plants promises new appreciation of how humans interact with nature. Maine is home to a treasure-trove of useful and fascinating plants, each with their own story. Join Steven Foster for a photographic journey exploring the intriguing medicinal plants of Maine.
    Steven Foster (www,stevenfoster.com) has explored medicinal plants on six continents in a career spanning over four decades. He is the senior author and photographer of 19 books including three Peterson Field Guides, most recently the 2014 3rd edition of A Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs Eastern North America (with the late Eagle Hill presenter, Jim Duke. A Maine native, Steven lives in the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

June 20
Adventures in the Utermost Part of the Earth: A Biologist in Patagonia
Donald Pfister been working for about 10 years in southern South America collecting fungi. This work was inspired by the travels of Harvard mycologist Roland Thaxter through his diary from 1905-1906. The work explores Southern Hemisphere biogeography highlighting the connection between the plants and fungi of southern South America and Australia and New Zealand. I will highlight our most recent trip to Chilean Tierra del Fuego.
    Donald Pfister teaches in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University where he is also curator of the Farlow Reference Library and Herbarium. Along with teaching a course on the biology of fungi he has taught about trees, forests, climate change and economic botany. His research is on the Ascomycota but members of his lab group have diverse interests from mushrooms to insect parasites and always with a focus on identity and the biology of fungi and their interactions.

June 27
Of Bugs and Birds ... A Relationship in Peril
Data from various parts of the world going back 40 years show that insect populations and diversity are in steep decline. “A whole insect world might be going quietly missing, a loss that would alter the planet in unknowable ways.” Catley's talk will explore the ramifications of such a decline as it relates to biodiversity in general and to bird populations in particular.
    Dr. Kefyn M Catley is emeritus professor of biology at Western Carolina University where he taught and conducted research in organismal evolutionary biology and science education. He holds a PhD in arthropod systematics from Cornell and was a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY. Traveling extensively he has studied spiders on four continents and held faculty positions at Rutgers and Vanderbilt universities. A naturalist, passionate photographer, and lifelong observer of the tiny creatures “that run the world” Kefyn gives talks and workshops at photographic clubs and societies where he encourages photographers to become citizen scientists by documenting and sharing their local arthropod diversity online. The instructor has 30 plus years of experience teaching and mentoring students and science professionals in the field, lecture, workshop, and lab. His research has been published extensively in a wide range of scientific journals and his arthropod photographs have appeared online and in magazines including National Wildlife.

July 13
Lizzie van Lew: The North's Most Successful Spy During the Civil War
This lecture will describe one facet of the Civil War that has been overlooked; women spies. Specifically Elizabeth Van Lew. Ms. Van Lew, a socialite and member of the Richmond elite, organized and ran one of the largest and most successful spy rings for the Union. Her organization provided information directly from the Davis Whitehouse to Generals Butler and General Grant and assisted slaves and Union prisoners to escape to the Union.
    Steven Garrett is a retired engineer with a life long interest in Civil War era history. He is currently a docent at the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum. the Skolfield-Whittier House and volunteer at the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick. He is also the president of the Joshua L. Chamberlain Civil War Roundtable and leader of his local history book club.

July 20
Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability
2019 is recognized in India and throughout the world as Gandhi 150 marking 150 years after the birth of M. K. Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi is invariably recognized as one of the most admirable moral and spiritual human beings and as the most influential proponent of nonviolence. What remains insightful and significant of Gandhi's philosophy and way of living for our post-9/11 world of so much violence, lack of morality, and unsustainable living?
    Douglas Allen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maine, is often recognized as one of the world's leading Gandhi scholars. His most recent book is Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability published by Oxford University Press in 2019. A peace and justice scholar-activist, he delivered major invited lectures in India in April 2019.

July 31
Native Plants as Insect Habitat
Each native plant species has a suite of host-specific insects that depend on it for food. Even allowing a single "weed" to grow in your garden can significantly increase its habitat value, and choosing to plant native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers will cause your yard to teem with life. Using a number of common New England plants as examples, Charley will introduce us to some of these insects, their natural history, and signs of their presence to look for on their host plants. His close-up photos will provide an unusual perspective on the tiny animals that are going about their lives right under our noses.
    Charley Eiseman is a freelance naturalist based in western Massachusetts. He has been conducting plant and wildlife surveys and natural resource inventories throughout New England for the past twenty years. He holds an MS in Botany (Field Naturalist) from the University of Vermont and a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management from the University of Massachusetts. Charley is the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates and has published over thirty scientific papers describing new insect species or documenting new natural history information for known species. He also writes an insect-themed blog, “BugTracks”.

Aug 1
The Bolete Mushrooms in New England; A Guide to the Best and the Questionable
The Bolete mushrooms are common and plentiful across all forest landscapes in the Northeast. They include the most famous of edibles, the Porcini or Cep or King Bolete; mushrooms on every foragers wish list. Boletes include a number of easily identifiable good edibles that can be predictably collected each year. The group also is home to some mushrooms that are challenging to identify and a few that can cause severe gastrointestinal pyrotechnics (read as vomiting and diarrhea). Join us at Eagle Hill as we explore the biology, ecology, history and folklore of this fascinating group of wild mushrooms.
    Greg Marley is the founder of Mushrooms for Health, a small company providing mushroom education and medicinal products made with Maine mushrooms. He is the author of Mushrooms for Health: Medicinal Secrets of Northeastern Fungi; and Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love Lore and Mystique of Mushrooms. Marley is a volunteer mushroom identification consultant to Poison Centers across New England, providing identification expertise in mushroom poisoning cases.
    Michaeline Mulvey has been an active member of Maine Mycological Association for 30 years. She happily works as a Maine Professional Land Surveyor in field and forest across the state, rain or shine.

Aug 7
The Natural History of the Moths of Maine
This intimate journey into the hidden lives of moths and their caterpillars will look at some of the amazing species in your backyard. Some of these moths take medicine and can bubble poison from their necks, produce perfume that can be smelled from over a mile away, or can jam bat echolocation. We will also examine caterpillars with gills, stinky tentacles, and horns that squirt acid, as well as ones that throw their feces, and others that live inside regurgitated owl pellets.
    Jason Dombroskie has worked as the manager for the Cornell University Insect Collection and the coordinator for the Insect Diagnostic Lab since 2012. Jason has published 18 scientific papers in entomology including a matrix-based key to the Lepidoptera of Canada. Current research in his lab focuses on systematics of the tribe Archipini (Tortricidae) in the New World, but some of his students work or have worked on other Tortricidae, Argyresthiidae, and Mimallonidae. Jason regularly hosts public mothing events across NY and gives richly-illustrated, popular talks and workshops on moth natural history, basic entomology, beneficial insects, and other topics.

Aug 8
Water-lilies (Nymphaeaceae): The Beautiful Species of the Water World
The water-lilies (Nymphaea) is a large genus of aquatic plants consisting of six subgenera from six continents. It contains hardy day blooming species, tropical day blooming species, and tropical night blooming species. Colors range from white in North America, northern Europe and Asia, to colored tropical species. Hybrids are common throughout their range especially in North America and Australia. Blossoms range in size from 1-12 inches with leaves up to 30 inches. Collectively they are the showiest species of aquatic plants.
    C. Barre Hellquist is professor emeritus of biology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and is co-author of the “Aquatic Plants of New England” series and the two volume book, “Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America.” He is also co-author of portions of the “Flora of North America” (Nuphar and Alismatidae), has finished working on the rare endemic Potamogeton clystocarpus of west Texas. Current work is on the systematics of Nymphaea (especially those of North America and Australia), the aquatic flora of the San Juan River basin in New Mexico, and the aquatic flora of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. He has taught courses on aquatic plants at the University of Michigan and University of Oklahoma Biological Stations and lectures on the rare aquatic plants and invasive aquatics of the northeast.

Aug 13
Fraught Wonder: Reactions to the Rise of Science in “The Sensitive Plant” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, remembered for his lush Romanticism, was voraciously curious about science and the natural world. He corresponded with leading scientists and attended live demonstrations of radical experiments, including the ones that inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. We will read the poem "The Sensitive Plant" in light of the poet's scientific moment, focusing especially on the debate over vitality, or the essential source of life, and the mixed feelings of a British public that was thrilled but sometimes troubled by the rise of natural history and scientific investigation during the Romantic period.
    Hayley Kolding studied English at Yale University with a focus in poetry and translation. Her writing and research often combine literature and natural history. She teaches English and is a member of the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Aug 14
Aquatic Insects: What Are They? Where Are They? And What Have They Done For Us (Or To Us) Lately!
Aquatic insects are among some of the most vulnerable wildlife because of their dependence on freshwater habitats. Globally this group of insects represents only a small fraction of all insect species, yet they are widespread and ecologically important providing services to both freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Despite all of the positive ecological jobs they do some are also medically important. These medically important species have their life cycles interwoven with various disease causing organisms that cause much suffering and death on a global basis. Currently, the forces of climate change are poised to both positively and negatively affect aquatic insects and us.
    Steven Burian is professor of aquatic biology at Southern Connecticut State University. He is a specialist on the taxonomy and systematics of Nearctic Ephemeroptera with a particular interest in the fauna of New England, Atlantic Canada, and the lower Arctic of Canada. His most active research programs involve studies of taxonomy of Siphlonurus, eastern species of Rhithrogena, Proocloeon, and Paraleptohlebia, as well as the distribution and species richness patterns of mayflies of far northern and eastern North America.

Aug 15
Amazing Stories and Specimens from the Harvard University Herbaria
Herbaria are functioning as a library for mostly dried plants, fungi and "algae". All of these specimens tell amazing stories, and this lecture will highlight examples that are housed in the Harvard University Herbaria: the mummy's lichen, the moss from the lawn of the White House, the potato blight, the plant collection of Henry David Thoreau, and the story of rubber.
    Michaela Schmull is a lichenologist and the Director of Collections at the Harvard University Herbaria. Her research interests include lichen ecology, biodiversity, and systematics. She has taught classes in plant microscopy, plant identification, and lichens and air pollution.

Aug 21
Linnaeus, the Second Adam
Linnaeus (1707–1778) is one of the most fascinating figures in the history of biology. In his day (mid 1700s), he was famous for his sexual system of plant classification. Some of his colleagues thought this classification was lewd and licentious and banned his books from certain European countries. He took revenge on his critics by naming ugly, smelly plants or animals after them. Linnaeus trained students, many of who lost their lives while on plant-collecting expeditions. One of his students, Peter Kalm, was the first trained botanist in North America. Nowadays Linnaeus is most remembered for the introduction of binomial nomenclature, which is still used for naming living things. Ironically, Linnaeus never meant for binomial nomenclature to replace the previous system of naming. His big ego and wide interests make for many entertaining stories about him—stories that shed light about science and scientists in the 1700s.
    Robbin Moran is the Nathaniel Lord Britton Curator of Botany at The New York Botanical Garden. His main research interest is ferns and lycophytes, and he has published over 160 scientific papers and four books on these plants. Every summer he teaches a ferns and lycophytes course at Eagle Hill, and he also teaches botany courses in Costa Rica under the auspices of the Organization of Tropical Studies.

Aug 22
Bioluminescence: The Mystique and Science of Living Cold Light
This presentation will be an exploration of the occurrence, the stories, and the scientific explanations of bioluminescence (the production of visible light by living organisms). Early observations and explanations of foxfire, maritime phosphorescence, fireflies and other dramatic living, cold, night light were often tied to mystical events or beings. Using available dramatic visuals, David will describe the diversity of these phenomena across the tree of life, and introduce the biological explanation and the potential uses of bioluminescence as tools in art, medicine, and research.
    David Porter is Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, where for 37 years he carried out research and was an award-winning teacher offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate level mycology classes. Now retired, Porter teaches an occasional mycology class at College of the Atlantic. In addition, he is active in outreach programs with lectures, forays and identification services.

Oct 5
Communication and Control in the Human Endocrine System
Your Endocrine System controls just about everything in your body in order to maintain an internal homeostasis in an otherwise hostile and highly variable external environment. This talk will cover how hormones (chemical messengers) work as the signaling network activated by sensors in your body to control the state of each of its cells to keep things in balance. The talk will also show what happens when things go wrong due to excess or insufficiency of vital hormones or faulty receptors on target cells, leading to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, giantism, dwarfism, Hashimoto's Disease and Grave's Disease. Lastly, the talk will cover the latest technology for diagnosing and treating Endocrine System related diseases.
    Prior to partially retiring in 2005, Allan Kleinman had worked as a systems analyst for 35 years. For the past 18 years he has been learning about the expanding genomics revolution, organized a series of professional-level lectures on bioinformatics for engineers, and has been following genomic-related issues on a daily basis. Allan has been attending Osher Lifelong Learning Institute classes at Brandeis and at the University of California San Diego for the past thirteen years and has led courses on energy, wine, individualized medicine, the human immune system, translational medicine and the human endocrine system.




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