LEWISTON – Noted botanist, writer and illustrator Elizabeth Farnsworth, co-author of the new Peterson field guide, “Ferns of Northeastern and Central North America,” will give an illustrated talk at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Lewiston Public Library. The public is invited to attend free.

The presentation will be informal, with Farnsworth sharing some amusing anecdotes about the process of updating the guide as she points out what is new and different about this edition.

General information on ferns and their ecology will also be discussed. The talk will conclude with a question-and-answer session and an opportunity for attendees to get copies of the book signed.

Farnsworth is a Bullard Fellow of Harvard University, where she is involved in research on the ecology and geographical distribution of rare plants in New England. After serving as senior research ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society, where she directed a five-year project to plan for the conservation and management of more than 100 species of rare plants, she is illustrating the forthcoming “Flora of New England.”

Farnsworth is an ecological consultant to the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts and Connecticut Natural Heritage Programs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prior to joining the New England Wild Flower Society, she was a National Science Foundation Fellow and faculty member at Smith College, and ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

She has done scientific research on a variety of ecosystems throughout the world, focusing on the ecology of tropical mangrove forests, impacts of climate change and invasive species on organisms, and restoration and conservation.

Farnsworth earned her undergraduate degree at Brown University, her masters degree at the University of Vermont and her doctorate at Harvard University. In addition to her current work at Harvard, she serves on the graduate faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and is authoring her second book, a source-to-sea guide to the Connecticut River.

Farnsworth’s talk at the library is co-sponsored by the Stanton Bird Club, which owns and manages Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston. Long-time steward of the sanctuary, Susan Hayward, points to the Peterson Field Guide Series as invaluable to naturalists at any level for the easy identification of plants.

She said, “This new fern guide by Elizabeth Farnsworth is a welcome revision to a reliable but now outdated classic.” She looks forward to using it at Thorncrag, she said, which supports nearly 20 varieties of ferns on its 312 acres of woodlands and fields.

Hayward is planning to offer a free public “Ferns of Thorncrag” workshop and field trip this summer as a follow-up to Farnsworth’s presentation.

Joining Stanton Bird Club as co-sponsor of the Feb. 21 event is the Delta Institute of Natural History, an environmental education center and bookstore located in Bowdoin.

Farnsworth’s talk will take place in Callahan Hall of the library’s new Marsden Hartley Cultural Center. The library is located at 200 Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston. More information is available by calling the library at 784-0135 or visiting www.lplonline.org.

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