Sen. Bob Casey and Climate Change

By Carolyn Belardo

The 2017 Academy Town Square series kicks off Thursday, Jan. 26, with Sen. Bob Casey in a talk and panel discussion on the effects of climate change on Pennsylvanians, especially children, and also initiatives to promote clean energy.

In light of the recent election, there has been a lot of discussion about the trend of changing weather patterns across the globe and the future of initiatives in this country to address the effects on people and the environment. Casey and a panel of health and other officials will address these issues in the first Academy Town Square of the year.

The event is co-hosted with PennEnvironment.  The panelists are Patrick McDonnell, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Jerry Fagliano, MPH, PhD, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health; and Adam Garber, deputy director of PennEnvironment.


The Academy Town Square is free. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the program begins at 7:15 p.m. To ensure seating, register on the Academy’s website at

The Academy Town Square series, made possible by Warren Environmental Counsel, continues Feb. 23 with a revealing look at one of America’s favorite pets and on March 15 with a world expert on the sustainable use of freshwater.

Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr. said the expansion of the Academy Town Square series reflects the institution’s mission of engaging the public in science issues that affect their everyday lives.

“The Academy of Natural Sciences has renewed its commitment as a leading voice on key science and environmental issues that are impacting people in a big way,” said Gephart. “Stepping up our Academy Town Square series to present leaders and experts on pressing issues of broad human impact is one way we are increasing public engagement and seeking to spur positive change at various levels.”

The Academy Town Square Series is free to the public. Each talk will focus on a different topic.
The Academy Town Square series addresses pressing science issues of broad human impact and encourages public engagement.

For updates as programs are scheduled, visit Here’s what’s coming up:

Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer
Thursday, Feb. 23, 6:30–8 p.m. Book-signing to follow.
Free. To register, visit

Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, will sign copies of his new book on cats as animal killers.

Mounting scientific evidence confirms what many conservationists have suspected for some time—that in the U.S. alone, free-ranging cats are killing birds and other animals by the billions. Equally alarming are the little-known, but potentially devastating, public health consequences of rabies and parasitic Toxoplasma passing from cats to humans at rising rates. At this free Town Square, Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, will outline the evidence he and co-author Chris Santella have presented in their new book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer (Princeton University Press). Marra has done extensive research on the threats free-ranging cats pose to biodiversity and public health throughout the world. He sheds new light on the controversies surrounding the management of the explosion of these cat populations and propose solutions that foresee a time when wildlife and humans are no longer vulnerable to the impacts of free-ranging cats.

National Geographic Freshwater Fellow Sandra Postel will address the insatiable demand for freshwater.

Troubled Waters
Wednesday, March 15, 6:30–8 p.m.
Free. To register, visit

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Canon Solutions America come together to host a dynamic lecture by National Geographic Freshwater Fellow Sandra Postel. A world-renowned authority on the preservation and sustainable use of freshwater, Postel will shed light on how people’s demand for freshwater has led to the deterioration of water resources in many parts of the world. Postel will illuminate the “big picture” issues surrounding water, including the effects of climate change on water supply, groundwater depletion, water wars, and conservation. Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and lectures, writes and consults on global water issues. She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration initiative pioneered by National Geographic and its partners, which has restored billions of gallons of water to depleted rivers and wetlands.


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