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Fall Author Talks

PHILADELPHIA, August 28, 2013

Science, art, nature and everyday life converge in a series of free author talks this fall at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

The series kicks off Thursday, Sept. 26, with wildlife art authority David Wagner, whose book, American Wildlife Art, has become the standard reference on the subject. On Monday, Oct. 7, writer Emma Marris discusses urban forests, and on Tuesday, Oct. 8, John Whitenight enchants with a look at a fascinating Victorian obsession with nature. All the talks are free.

American Wildlife Art

Free Talk by Author David J. Wagner

Thursday, September 26, 6:30 p.m.

Registration requested:

David J. Wagner, a leading author, curator and researcher of American wildlife art, will give an illustrated talk on how this classic art form evolved from early watercolor drawings, such as those by Mark Catesby, to John James Audubon’s classic masterpiece The Birds of America, to the achievements of today’s great wildlife painters and sculptors. Wagner’s book, American Wildlife Art, is considered a standard reference on the subject. Following his talk in the Academy’s library, Wagner will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. Attendees also can see the Academy’s copy of Audubon’s The Birds of America. This program is in conjunction with the Sept. 29 opening of an exhibit based on his book at the Allentown Art Museum. For information, visit For information on the exhibit, visit, and on American Wildlife Art, visit

The City in the Forest: How Urban Nature Changes Lives and Saves the Plane

Free Talk by Author Emma Marris

Monday, Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m., Free reception 6 p.m.

Freelance science and environment writer Emma Marris, author of the book Rambunctious Garden, will give an illustrated talk about the relationship between nature and city dwellers. Marris contends that as humans change every aspect of the earth—from what species live where to climate itself—the strategies for saving nature must change as well. Marris’ stories have appeared in Conservation, Slate, Nature Medicine, OnEarth, and Nature, where she worked as a staffer. She blogs about “small nature” in mostly urban settings at Everyday Nature. For more information, visit

A Victorian Obsession: The Natural World Under Glass

Free Talk by Author John Whitenight

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Registration requested:

John Whitenight, author of Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession, will give an illustrated talk about the major role natural history played in the everyday lives of 19th-century people. During that era, the public developed an unprecedented obsession with the natural world. Whitenight will share insights from his book, a comprehensive study of the incredible array of objects that regular people arranged and presented as decorative art. Included will be botanical arrangements made from wax and sea shells, as well as domes and cases filled with beautiful birds of every description. Whitenight has been collecting glass domes and studying their history since 1973, when he received his first dome containing three preserved canaries. Recently highlighted in a New York Times article, his collection contains more than 175 richly varied domed displays. Following the talk, he will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. For more information, visit

Images of David Wagner, Emma Marris and John Whitenight are available at:

Also on the calendar:

How Toxic Air Affects our Children

Urban Sustainability Forum

Thursday, September 19, 6:30 p.m. Free reception 5:30 p.m.


Registration requested:

Traffic pollution, power plant emissions, and chemicals in consumer products and cleaning supplies are among the air pollutants that children breathe every day. At this Urban Sustainability Forum, panelists, moderated by Molly Rauch of Moms Clean Air Force, will discuss how toxic chemicals in the air may be harming children. In urban environments such as Philadelphia, children may be exposed to high levels of heavy metals, ozone, small particles, and other chemicals that can cause long-term health effects in addition to adversely impacting prenatal and early childhood growth and development, as well as lung function. Panelists will explore what parents can do to ensure that their children grow up strong and healthy. For more information, visit

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