Newton is blessed with dozens of forested parks, and that means anyone can learn about New England’s rich variety of plants, insects, and birds, right here in town. The connection of plant-insect-bird is a crucial one, holding the ecology of our parks together, since most birds feed on insects at some point in their lives. This is a central reason to care about invasive non-native plants: few insects can feed on non-natives, and that means allowing non-native invasives to proliferate does make our parks less vibrant. This presentation by ecologist Eric Olson will introduce the “Least Wanted” six or so species of local problem plants, illustrate the food web connections that research has revealed, and describe the ways citizen stewards can help push back against these plant invaders.
Our presenter is Eric Olson, who recently retired from Brandeis University, where he taught Field Biology and other courses for many years. Dr. Olson has a lifelong interest in insect-plant interactions, with particular interest in moth and butterfly caterpillars and their host plants. He has led dozens of invasive plant control sessions in both Newton and Waltham.