Where the Wild Things Were — Winter Speaker Series via Zoom 2022-2023
Will Stolzenburg, Author, & Ed Friedman, FOMB Chair
Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 7:00pm
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) fourth presentation of their 26th annual Winter Speaker Series, Where the Wild Things Were; features author Will Stolzenburg and FOMB Chair Ed Friedman. FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series presentations are again being held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of the FOMB web page: www.fomb.org. This event takes place Wednesday, January 11th, at 7 pm. Register HERE.
More and more, scientists have begun understanding the ways in which many ecosystems are driven top-down by the presence of predators, whether starfish, sea otters, wolves or cougar. Unfortunately, beginning with the relatively rapid elimination of mega-fauna, two-legged predators have taken an ever-increasing role as poor substitutes for nature’s apex wild predators. We are not doing a very good job. For example here in Maine, deer and rodent populations are out of control which in turn fosters unnatural excesses of ticks, diseases, weeds and invasive plants. With cougars and wolves eliminated we now set our rifle sights on coyotes, a poor replacement for the virtually extirpated former top predators but still better than nothing.
Join Will and Ed in a conversation ranging from shifting baselines-how quickly we forget the abundant predators, fish and game there once were – to how the ecosystems have since become so unbalanced and what it would mean to rewild with charismatic predators, both for ecosystem health and our own. Are we willing to adapt to a rewilding of dominant predators? Could we co-exist? Is it possible for fish and game agencies whose salaries are paid by hunting and fishing license fees and who have the killing of predators in their DNA, to change?
Will Stolzenburg is a former wildlife biologist who writes and speaks on behalf of all creatures, wild and tame. He does this for three reasons: Because he finds them wondrous, and good for the soul. Because it haunts him to know how badly we treat so many of them. And, because they deserve every voice, every compassionate ally we can muster on their behalf.
For much of Will’s career he covered the science of wildlife conservation, gravitating towards a particularly maligned tribe of animal called predators. The fang-and-claw fascination inevitably led Will to a cadre of rabble-rousing scientists who were turning the tenets of ecology on its head, uncovering the critical roles of Earth’s topmost predators in enriching the web of life. Hence his first book Where the Wild Things Were, which Barnes & Noble chose as one of its “Discover Great New Writers” selections. Then, followed an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship and ‘The Wild Things’ twisted sequel, Rat Island, a true tale of alien predators running amok on oceanic islands, and the bloody campaign to defeat them. The third in this unplanned predator trilogy was Heart of a Lion, following in the footsteps of one heroic young mountain lion who walked his way across America, thousands of miles through enemy lines, from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the outskirts of Manhattan. Finally, there is the story of Towpath’s Tail, a beautiful book about bullying and healing power of love and forgiveness.
Stolzenburg’s, Where the Wild Things Were has received extremely high praise including these compliments:
“Science writing at its best. Big, fierce animals have a noble champion in William Stolzenburg.”
—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“Stolzenburg narrates these cautionary tales with a conservationist’s attention to ecological detail and a childlike reverence for flesh-tearing beasts. His infectious enthusiasm should spark even in bug-wary urbanites a renewed appreciation for nature’s complexity.”
—Alex Altman, Time magazine
“With a lucid and sparkling voice, William Stolzenburg explains clearly why we need the wolf, tiger, and other predators, large and small, to maintain a healthy environment.”
—George B. Schaller, Vice President of Science and Exploration, Wildlife Conservation Society
“I want to say this thoughtfully: Where the Wild Things Were is one of the most fascinating and well-written books I have read in years. It is wonderful. I can’t believe anyone interested in nature or wild places would find it otherwise. It kept me turning from tale to tale, from one compelling personality to the next, and saddened by coming to the end. A beautiful book.”
—Michael L. Andrews, Vice President and Senior Conservation Fellow, The Nature Conservancy
“Required reading for every citizen.”
—Josh Donlan, Founder and Director, Advanced Conservation Strategies
Ed Friedman has a broad based background in the natural sciences including over 40 years as an outdoor educator. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science with course and field work in wildlife ecology, glacial geology, hydrology, remote sensing, plant ecology and snow morphology to name a few. Ed has conducted field research from the arctic to the Antarctic for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others and counts the privilege of conducting caribou and other wildlife research on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a high point. Among the other species he has worked with are sea otters, snowshoe hare, bald eagles and carp. Ed has chaired FOMB since 1996 actively leading the group in many successful research, advocacy, land protection and education efforts.
FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, usually on the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom. The FOMB February 9th presentation: Running Silver! features noted Aquatic Conservation Biologist John Waldman This event takes place at 7:00 pm with the Zoom access link available at www.fomb.org a week or so prior to the presentation. Note this event is on Thursday evening.
Speaker Series presentations are free, open to the public. Visit www.fomb.org to seespeaker biographies, full event schedules, video recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.
For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or [email protected].