7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Eden Prairie Community Center

Deep Oak Savanna

This presentation explores the deep meaning of oak savanna, from an ecological standpoint, one of earths most amazing ecosystems ever.  Stephen will begin by providing a definition for savanna and reinforcing the concept via a planetary field trip, in time and space, to witness an ontological theme and variation thereof, and to expose savanna as the most advanced, diverse, and provisional terrestrial ecosystem ever. He will then focus on our regional Midwest savannas and conduct enthralling natural histories of keystone species and their reinforcing roles of the savanna configuration. The presentation covers the recent demise of savanna and associated drivers, and also, why losing this powerful ecosystem, from a planetary perspective, poses a threat to livability.  The presentation then shifts to savanna restoration, from ground layer flora to shrubs and canopy trees, from buffalo to goats, and from large scale preserves to lawnscapes. Emerging concepts of silvoculture and working lands are discussed. Throughout the presentation, a powerful array of scientific principles are rendered via fascinating stories concerning our native savanna flora and fauna, feedbacks and ecosystem phenomenology, in ways which provide the audience a deep ecology and sense of wonder for oak savanna.
Stephen Thomforde has 28 years and 10,000 acres experience in design, implementation and maintenance of ecological restorations throughout the Midwest. This includes a decade of post graduate research at UW-Madison from which emerged a framework for ecological restoration in the 21st century and the first regional concepts based on State Transition Models, Working Lands, and Restoration of Ecosystem Services. For the past 15 years, his passion, work and research has focused on savanna ecosystems, from the scale of lawns to a model for future agricultural production.  Stephen lives in Minneapolis, farms in Zumborta, and plays outside throughout the Midwest.