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Cecil Frost, who has been called the Garrison Keillor of ecology because of the engaging talks he delivers about botany, will be the guest presenter in the Old Dominion University Natural History Lecture Series Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in North Cafeteria of Webb University Center.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of ODU's 75th anniversary celebration.

Frost is an authority on the ecology and history of the longleaf pine belt that extends from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas. His writings include book chapters on the longleaf pine, white cedar, fire dependent savannas and the Zuni (Va.) Pine Barren Natural Area where ODU's Blackwater Ecologic Preserve in located.

He has a doctorate in botany from the University of North Carolina and has worked for North Carolina's Natural Heritage Program and Plant Conservation Program, as well as the Virginia Natural Heritage Program. He is a former student of Lytton Musselman, the Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and chair of the ODU department of biological sciences who manages the Blackwater preserve.

"When he has spoken before on our campus, my students have enjoyed his talks," Musselman said. "On field trips, Dr. Frost is a mobile Google of information. He talks about fire scars, clay lenses beneath sandy soils, breeding patterns of pines, use of longleaf fragments as the equivalent of flashlights in Colonial times, how frequent burns affect blueberries, about water levels and peat mosses, and a plethora of natural and human history."

Prior to European settlement, the longleaf pine belt covered about 90 million acres, but overuse and poor management has reduced the coverage by more than 95 percent. The trees were a source of naval stores-pitch, tar and resin-and masts for wooden sailing vessels, which led to their exploitation and demise.

Public parking for the event is available in the ODU parking garage on Elkhorn Avenue at 43rd Street. For information about the lecture, call 683-3114.

This article was posted on: April 4, 2006

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

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