Department of Geography and the Environment

Colloquium: Dr. Matt W. Turner

Fri, October 11, 2013 | CLA 0.128

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Colloquium: Dr. Matt W. Turner

The Department of Geography and the Environment is pleased to present visiting speaker Dr. Matt W. Turner for our Fall 2013 Colloquium series. This event is open to the public. For more information call (512)232-1595 or email Madeline Enos.

From trees to shrubs, flowers to grasses, cacti to vines, the plants that inhabit a given region are an obvious first-stop in the search for natural resources.  Indeed, behind our everyday botanical landscape lies a plethora of native plant uses — be they archaeological, historical, material, medicinal, culinary, or cultural — most of which are ignored today.  We’ll explore the nuanced histories of a handful of Texas natives (sotol, prickly pear, yaupon holly, osage orange and mesquite) to see how humans exploit the natural world in ever-changing ways, how value is determined as much by whim as by need, and how one person’s wealth is another’s weed.  Finally, with a peek at an invasive non-native (Chinese tallow tree), we’ll see how the ante is upped when nature takes the upper hand.

Short Bio:

Matt Warnock Turner, Ph.D., is author of Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives (University of Texas Press 2009), which won the Native Plant Society of Texas’ 2009 Carroll Abbott Memorial Award for writings in the popular vein on Texas native plants.  Matt is a naturalist, teacher, and free-lance writer who works as a market researcher at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.  An active member of the Native Plant Society of Texas, he has published both scientific and popular articles on botanical topics, and has given presentations and nature walks at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  He’s twice appeared as a guest on PBS’s “Central Texas Gardener” and starred in the PBS documentary, “Wildflowers:  Seeds of History.” A fifth-generation Texan, he is a native of Austin where he currently resides. For more info, order his book or visit his website


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