DURHAM, N.C. – Steward Pickett, widely recognized as one of the pioneers of urban ecology, will present the 2020 Henry J. Oosting Memorial Lecture in Ecology at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.

He will present his talk, “When Ecology and City Meet: Navigating and Learning on the Urban Frontier,” virtually due to COVID safety precautions. The talk is free and open to the public, but you must register by Oct. 16.

Pickett is a distinguished senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., former director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, and co-director of the Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network. He was among the first U.S. scientists to champion a new approach to studying and managing city landscapes – one that bridges the gaps between ecology, social science, and urban planning and design.

“As I and other researchers began to do more (research on) ecology of the city, and became more familiar with the needs of agencies and communities, we decided that we needed to start talking about urban ecology in a broader frame,” he told an interviewer from Biohabitats.com in 2018. “We knew that we needed to work with people—in communities, various governmental agencies, and nongovernmental organizations—to generate knowledge about the city that is useful to those who manage and live in it. This is ecology for the city. It is not science coming in and handing down insight. It is based on equal partnership and dialogue.

“With ecology for the city, urban ecology has evolved to produce what many people call ‘actionable knowledge’ that can help solve problems for communities and government,” he explained.

In recognition of his achievements, Pickett has been named a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been presented the Conservation Innovator Award by Columbia University and the Centennial Award by the Botanical Society of America. He served as president of the Ecological Society of America from 2011 to 2012.

The Oosting Lecture is presented annually by Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Department of Biology and University Program in Ecology.  This is the 48th year the lecture has been presented.