Award-Winning Naturalist to Speak at Misericordia University

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Edward Kanze, an Adirondack guide, naturalist, photographer and author, will share what he has learned from an 18-year biological study in northern New York in the free presentation, “Who’s There? A Backyard Biological Survey Inspires and Informs an Adirondack Nature Writer,” at Misericordia University on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms 218-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. The event is open to the public.

Kanze and his wife, Debbie, launched a backyard biological survey on their 18-acre property along the Saranac River in Adirondack Park, a 6-million-acre park in New York in the winter of 2000. The couple has spent the last 18 years working with fellow scientists to distinguish the rare and obscure in the region, and have identified everything from trilliums, a genus of perennial flowering plants in the lily family native to temperate regions of North America, to tardigrades, a phylum of water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals that can survive in many extreme conditions.

“The scope of the project is epic,’’ said Kanze, who will share their discoveries through stories and his color photographs. “The prospect of completion utterly hopeless, yet the work goes on, and so does the fun and learning that goes with it. He also will discuss how the survey has inspired and informed his award-winning nature writing and allowed his children to experience daily scientific discovery.

Kanze is a 1978 graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in geography and won the Bermas Prize for highest departmental honors. In April 2005, the John Burroughs Association named his essay on the passenger pigeon, “In Search of Something Lost,” the Outstanding Published Natural History Essay of 2004. The Burroughs awards, bestowed annually at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, are among America’s highest honors in nature writing. The same essay earned a gold medal in environmental writing by the International Regional Magazine Association. Kanze also has lived in Australia and written about the continent’s natural environment.

For additional information about the program, please contact Scott Blanchard, Ph.D., professor of English, at or 570-674-6424.