October 19, 2011 — Steven Handel, a restoration ecologist and director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology at Rutgers University, will present the Benjamin C. Howland Jr. Memorial Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153. The talk is free and open to the public.
In his talk, "Dreams and Nightmares of Restoring Urban Habitats," Handel will explore ecological solutions including pollination, seed dispersal and growth patterns as potential methods for restoring large degraded urban habitats such as parks, landfills and brownfields. He will use the habitat and corridor design work for the new Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York and the Orange County Great Park in California as examples that mesh restored habitat complexity with civic needs.
Handel studies the potential to restore native communities to many habitats, adding sustainable ecological services, biodiversity and amenities to the landscape. He has explored pollination, seed dispersal, growth patterns, and most recently, problems of urban and heavily degraded lands. He works with both biologists and landscape designers to improve the understanding of restoration protocols and apply this knowledge to public projects.
Since 2006, he has been an adjunct professor of ecology at the University of California at Irvine. He serves as director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology, a joint initiative of Rutgers and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, dedicated to rebuilding native habitats throughout the region. Handel is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and is the editor of the journal Ecological Restoration. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Australian Institute of Biology and The Explorers Club. He was elected an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2007, and in 2009 received the society's National Honor Awards for Research and for Analysis and Planning.
Handel has worked on the planning of ecological restoration in major urban areas including the Fresh Kills landfill and new Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, the Duke Farms Foundation's 2,700-acre holdings in New Jersey, the landscape for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and public parks in Dublin, Ireland, and Orange County, Calif.