Wyoming Landscapes Focus of Science Museum Lecture

Twenty years of change in Wyoming's landscapes will be the focus of a lecture Wednesday at Sheridan College.

The lecture by Dr. Dennis Knight, professor emeritus in the Department of Botany and Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming, will start at 7 p.m. in Sheridan College's Whitney Center for the Arts Concert Hall and is open free to the public.

His lecture is based on a book he authored in 1994, titled "Mountains and Plains: The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes." In the years since the book was published, wolves were reintroduced, wildfires and bark beetle epidemics have become more common, sage grouse that were common in 1994 have been proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, invasive species have become a bigger problem, and habitat has been further fragmented by thousands of miles of new roads.

In addition, new approaches for conservation have been tried, and Knight's original book barely mentioned the effects of climate change on Wyoming ecosystems.

Dr. Knight in collaboration with others updated the book, and a second edition was published in 2014. Dr. Knight's lecture Wednesday will be an overview of the new information incorporated into the second edition, and will highlight some of today's conservation issues.

A native of South Dakota, Dr. Knight joined UW's Department of Botany in 1966 and for 35 years taught courses in biology, ecology, ecosystem analysis and forest management. He was head of the botany department for 10 years.