Dr. Steward T.A. Pickett will speak on On Becoming an Urban Ecologist: Personal Motivations, Practical Constraints, and Career Rewards. Steward Pickett is a Distinguished Senior Scientist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, where he studies urban ecology. Honors include the Ecological Society of America’s Eminent Ecologist award for 2022 and election to the National Academy of Sciences.
How, in a discipline that traditionally has sought out places seemingly devoid of human influence, and certainly lacking obvious human presence, does one come to study cities and other urbanized places? The answer combines personal experience and interests, but also a spirit of exploration of uncharted intellectual territory. The answer also reveals barriers to studying and working in complex ecological conditions that are joined with equally complex social situations. Challenges to meet are the large number of diverse stakeholders, along with the deep concerns of residents and institutions with sometimes divergent goals of efficiency, economy, equity, and justice. Brief examples from projects that deal with equity of green infrastructure in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study illustrate the challenges and ways forward.