LEWISTON – The University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College will present a slide lecture by Susan Hayward, naturalist and steward for Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9.

“Discovering the Common, Conserving the Rare” will describe and illustrate the natural wonders of Lewiston’s sanctuary. The presentation, free and open to the public, will be held in conjunction with the exhibit in the Atrium Art Gallery, “Threatened and Endangered: Artist’s Books Created by Rebecca Goodale.” A reception in the gallery will follow the presentation.

Hayward, who has been involved with Thorncrag since 1985, describes it as the “green jewel in the crown of Lewiston where everyone is welcome to discover the inhabitants of a typical forest in order to better appreciate and recognize the rare and unusual organisms found in other special habitats in Maine.”

The 312-acre wildlife preserve lies in the heart of Lewiston and has been owned and managed by the Stanton Bird Club since 1921. At an elevation of 510 feet, the highest point in the city, the sanctuary sits as a green capstone, a forested oasis surrounded on three sides by urban and suburban development.

Hayward’s presentation will focus on the ecological qualities of Thorncrag that are typical of forested areas. On understanding ecology, she said, “It is a longstanding principal of environmental education that once someone understands the ordinary and can recognize the wildlife values in their own backyard, then the sense and awareness of the extraordinary, the rare, the endangered, the threatened by comparison is heightened. When both sensibilities exist in the same person, an authentic conservation ethic resides.”

Thorncrag has been the educational site for groups such as University of Maine wildlife biologists, college and high school ecology classes, Boy and Girl Scout troops, professional botanical societies, garden clubs, arborists, environmental educators with programs such as Project Learning Tree and Project Wild, wetland engineers, surveyors, soil scientists and many of the K-12 schools in the Androscoggin County area.

The presentation is sponsored, in part, by the Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of New England and funded, in part, by a New Century Arts and Humanities Grant. The college is located at 51 Westminster St. For more information, call USM/Lewiston-Auburn College at 753-6550.

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