Newton and the Northeast Kingdom – Natural Connections

Newton and the Northeast Kingdom - Natural Connections


Thursday, 05/20/2004    
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Newton Free Library
330 Homer Street, Newton Centre, MA

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Brendan Whittaker
Forester, Pastor, & Former Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources

Dan Perlman
Brandeis University (and Cold Spring Photographer)

Former Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources Brendan Whittaker will be the speaker at the Spring 2004 Newton Conservators Lecture. The event will take place at the Druker Auditorium of the Newton Free Library on Thursday, May 20 th at 7 pm . At first glance, it may appear that the City of Newton, an urban ring Boston suburb with a population density of 4643 persons per square mile (in Y2K) and the Northern Forest areas of Vermont, with only 20 persons per square mile, may have little in common. Yet Newton native Brendan Whittaker will elucidate the linkage between these seemingly disparate natural environments. He has lived in farthest northeastern Vermont for almost forty-five years. As a graduate professional forester in a one-industry paper mill town, he has found himself deeply involved in the vast land ownership changes taking place in northern New York and New England, particularly over the last 15 years. He feels a debt to his Garden City Newton upbringing for putting him on the road to a life in conservation and has been a long time but far-away member of the Newton Conservators.

Dan Perlman, Professor of Biology at Brandeis University and coauthor with E.O. Wilson of Conserving Earth’s Biodiversity, will join Mr. Whittaker is exploring the many emerging linkages, physical, biological, environmental, and even spiritual between the Newton and the Northeast Kingdom, a 20 million acre region some 30 times bigger than Rhode Island.

Brendan Whittaker is a proud graduate of Newton High Class of 1952 and went on to a degree in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts . He also holds a Master of Divinity from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge , Massachusetts . He began his career in Vermont state government in 1959 as Essex County Forester. In 1967, he served as First Chairman of the Act 250, District I Environmental Commission in Vermont . In 1977, he was appointed as Director of the State Energy Office, and in 1978 he became Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. He was chosen to chair the international negotiations by environmental representatives of the six New England Governors and five Eastern Canadian Premiers which resulted in the Unanimous Joint Agreement on Acid Rain. In 1991, he was appointed to the Northern Forest Lands Council, and in 1992 he joined the Vermont Natural Resources Council as a Northern Forest Project Manager. In 1997 he became one of the founding members of the nation-wide “Forest Stewards Guild.” He was just re-appointed in 2004 as a Vermont member of the Connecticut River Joint Commission. He is a selectman in the town of Brunswick , Vermont , and a partner with his wife, Dorothy, in the market garden they operate from their farm.

Dan Perlman is an equally proud graduate of Newton South, Class of 1973. He received a Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University. He has taught conservation biology for twelve years and has written two books on the subject.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Newton Free Library (617-796-1360) and the Newton Conservators, Newton ‘s own organization that promotes the protection and preservation of open space. Bren Whittaker’s lecture is the seventh in the twice yearly, Newton Conservators Lecture Series, which features renowned experts in areas related to the open space mission of the Conservators. As part of their educational outreach, the programs are free and open to the public. Membership information about the Newton Conservators and the Friends of the Library will be available at the lecture. Copies of the new Walking Trails in Newton’s Park and Conservation Lands will be available for purchase, as well as Conserving Earth’s Biodiversity. For further information on this event, please contact the Conservators coordinator for this event, Ted Kuklinski.