PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

GROTON — Explore how the public’s attitude towards wildlife has dramatically changed since the first European settlers arrived, at a presentation by Dr. Thomas W. French, Director of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program sponsored by the Nashua River Watershed Association.

Unfortunately, it took the loss of most of our forests and our large wildlife species to raise public concern. “History of Wildlife Conservation and Recovery in Massachusetts” will be held on Tuesday, March 7, 7 to 9 p.m., at the NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt. 119) in Groton.

Over the past several decades, many of our largest species have returned as the forests have regrown and matured. Today, our native species and ecosystems continue to be threatened by ever expanding development that eliminates and fragments habitat, a growing network of roads and traffic volume, and increasing impacts from invasive species, but there are many success stories of which we can be proud. Dr. French will speak about this past history and current efforts by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to protect the state’s biodiversity.

French was born and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, receiving a B.S. in Biology from Georgia State University, an M.S. in Zoology from Auburn University, a Ph.D. in Ecology and Systematics from Indiana State University, and a post-doctoral position at Cornell University. He was formerly a zoologist with The Nature Conservancy and an instructor-naturalist/ field biologist with the National Audubon Society. Since 1984, he has been an Assistant Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, where he serves as director of the NHESP. In 2007, French spent four months as the acting Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game. For six years, he chaired the New England Large Whale Recovery Plan Implementation Team.

This presentation is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is recommended; seating is limited. To pre-register, email Wynne Treanor-Kvenvold, NRWA Communications Manager, WynneT@NashuaRiverWatershed.org, or call (978) 448-0299.