Free: The Welikia Project - Exploring the Historical Landscape Ecology of NYC's Five Boroughs (1/9)

01/09/2023 07:00 PM - 08:00 PM ET


  • Free


Eric Sanderson and colleagues worked for a decade on the Mannahatta Project to understand what Manhattan was like before Europeans got here. A dozen years later he's back with the Welikia Project, telling the story of the ecological landscape of all five boroughs. Come learn about Brooklyn when it had brooks, the rivers that predate the Bronx, the high hills and low plains of Staten Island, and why Queens owes so much to ice, woods, and teeming marshlands. Nature knows a lot about what this landscape was and could be, which is why the study of its previous inhabitants, avian, human, and otherwise, reveals so much about the future of the City.


About the Speaker: 
Eric W. Sanderson is a senior conservation ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society based at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. He has published extensively on wildlife and wild places and is the author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, 2009). He is currently working on an atlas and gazetteer to the indigenous landscape of New York.


The NYC Audubon Lecture Series is made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.



Left: A computer-generated graphic depicting from an aerial perspective the historical ecology of New York City before European colonization. The graphic shows a wildly different-looking Manhattan during this time, covered in marshlands, woodlands, and rivers. 
Right: Eric Sanderson, a light-skinned man with a white beard wearing glasses and a hat, smiles at the camera from an outdoor location.

Credit: courtesy of Eric Sanderson

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