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Published March 23, 2018
The University of Wyoming Restoration Outreach and Research (ROaR) student organization will host Joy Zedler, the Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Friday, March 30.
Zedler’s presentation, titled “What’s New in Adaptive Restoration?,” is set for noon in the UW College of Business auditorium. The School of Energy Resources, Associated Students of UW, the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center, and the UW Biodiversity Institute are co-sponsors and partners for the event.
“She coined the term 'adaptive restoration,' which is a combination of adaptive management and restoration ecology,” says Michael Curran, president of ROaR. “Joy will be talking about the importance of merging these two disciplines and will go through examples of her own work, which has mainly been conducted in aquatic ecosystems.”
As the Aldo Leopold Chair, Zedler facilitates place-based research at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, which has a large collection of restored and restorable ecosystems, according to her University of Wisconsin website. She addresses issues of importance to the restoration of wetlands within the arboretum, within Wisconsin, and in other states and countries. For example, she helps the Association of State Wetland Managers conduct monthly webinars and compile a report to the Environmental Protection Agency on how best to improve wetland restoration. More broadly, she advises local, state and national agencies on wetland protection and restoration.
Zedler, a professor of botany, recently received the Odum Lifetime Achievement Award from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. She has published numerous books and more than 300 peer-reviewed publications over the course of her career. She was the first-ever Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology, a significant position. Leopold is widely considered the pioneer of restoration ecology.
Zedler’s specialties include restorative ecology; wetland ecology; re-establishment of rare plants; interactions of native and rare species; and adaptive management.
ROaR has approximately 20 students, with usually six to 10 members being active, Curran says. The purpose of the group is to promote restoration ecology.
“We have done quite a bit of work around Laramie, most recently installing a pollinator garden in the Laramie greenbelt,” Curran says. “But, other projects have included Laramie River restoration and improvement projects, and environmental cleanup projects along Spring Creek and on state land just east of Laramie.”
In addition to community service, the group invites at least one prominent visiting speaker per academic year, he adds. ROaR is the only student group in the country with professional affiliations to both the Society for Ecological Restoration and the American Society of Mining and Reclamation.