SUNY ESF’S Dakota Matthews on “A Forest Reborn: Reviving the American Chestnut”

Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for an evening with Dakota Matthews, Molecular Lab Manager of SUNY ESF’s American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project. Before the turn of the century, the American chestnut was a significant part of American life. Because it could grow rapidly and attain huge sizes, the tree was often the outstanding visual feature in both urban and rural landscapes. Its wood was used wherever strength and rot-resistance was needed. And its edible nut was a significant contributor to the rural economy. Chestnut ripening coincided with the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, and turn-of-the-century newspaper articles often showed train cars filled to overflowing with chestnuts rolling into major cities to be sold fresh or roasted. But with the introduction of Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal agent of chestnut blight, in the early 1900s, the American chestnut was reduced to a shadow of its former self: not quite extinct; but no longer able to thrive. Now, through the application of cutting-edge biotechnology, SUNY ESF’s American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project has developed a blight-tolerant American chestnut tree and is working to restore this iconic and valuable cultural symbol to the forest ecosystems of the eastern United States. Mr. Matthews will detail this pioneering work, provide an update on where the project currently stands, and outline the project’s ambitious goal of growing ten thousand blight-resistant American chestnut trees over the next five years. A brief Q&A will follow.”

This event will be held on Thursday, October 13 at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here:

About Dakota Matthews

Dakota Matthews has been a part of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project for close to seven years. He holds a Masters in Plant Biotechnology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and began working for the Project as a graduate student. In 2020 he was promoted to the position of molecular lab manager. His primary focus is on gene expression and copy number for transgenic events, as well as working with fungal cultures of the Chestnut blight for controlled inoculations.

Hyatt Green on COVID-19: Predicting the Next Outbreak

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce our January 2021 event, an evening with SUNY ESF professor Hyatt Green, whose novel approach to wastewater monitoring is currently being used as an early warning system for the next major outbreak of COVID-19 in Onondaga County. Battling COVID-19 requires rigorous testing. Testing, if it is to succeed, requires the close coordination of microbiologists, public health officials, and operational technologists. Professor Green’s cutting-edge wastewater monitoring project unites these fields. Its blend of microbiology and biotech provides local governments and public health officials with a non-invasive method for detecting the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community—a method that may just be able to contain the next outbreak before it spreads. You won’t want to miss this incredibly topical event. A brief Q&A will follow Professor Green’s presentation.

This event will be held on Thursday, January 14th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Hyatt Green

Hyatt Green is an assistant professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He holds a PhD in Microbiology from Oregon State University, and has been published in numerous scientific journals, including Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Science and Technology. His research looks at molecular microbial ecology, water quality and microbial source-tracking, microbial dark matter, and eDNA and molecular ecology.

In April 2020, Professor Green and his research team began developing a method to monitor wastewater for evidence of COVID-19. The New York State Department of Health awarded Professor Green $500,000 in funding to pilot a statewide coronavirus transmission early warning system. They are currently monitoring wastewater systems in 11 counties across New York State, including Onondaga County.

Dr. Colin Beier on Climate Change

The Strathmore Speaker Series is delighted to announce our November 2019 event, an afternoon with Dr. Colin Beier. Dr. Beier will explore the science and evidence behind our changing climate. He will discuss near and long-term solutions for managing this change and the implications of failing to manage it.  This event will be held on Sunday, November 10th at 2 pm at the Onondaga Park Firebarn. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

About Colin Beier

“My work recognizes that humans are integral parts of the Earth system, capable of both inducing rapid and irreversible changes, yet also providing careful stewardship that fosters the adaptive capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems.” – Colin Beier

Colin Beier, PhD, is a father, a husband, a student and teacher of the natural world, and an associate professor at SUNY ESF.  He is a broadly trained ecologist interested in the fate of forest ecosystems and landscapes – including people and our economic, political, and cultural institutions – in a rapidly changing world. His current work is focused on monitoring ecosystem impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks, developing a statewide forest carbon inventory and monitoring program for New York, and leading a new ESF initiative in ‘Pathways to Net Zero Carbon’ that will integrate science and design to address our critical challenges and opportunities at the nexus of land use, energy systems, and climate change.