John Burroughs Natural Science Lecture Series



John Burroughs Natural Science Lecture Series

Tropical Seas & First Forests: New York 400 Million Years Ago

Note: The date for this event has been changed to November 29

SUNY Ulster Hosts “Tropical Seas & First Forests: New York 400 Million Years Ago”

with Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten on November 15
John Burroughs Natural Science Lecture Series

November 1, 2018 – Stone Ridge, NY – SUNY Ulster will host “Tropical Seas & First Forests: New York 400 Million Years Ago,” a presentation by Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten of the New York State Museum, on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the College Lounge. This event is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten will tell the story of a very different New York State. Rocks in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains tell the history of New York long before the dinosaurs. Marine shells and coral reefs in the valley indicate an environment of shallow tropical seas. Fossil trees and strata of the Catskills record a history of some of Earth’s earliest forests and an Andes-scale mountain belt in New England.

Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten is Curator of Sedimentary Rocks and Geologist at the New York State Museum in Albany. His research focuses on the geology and history of the Devonian Period (418 to 358 million years ago) in New York and beyond, including sea level history, mountain building and sedimentation, paleoecology, and Devonian volcanic ash layers. He has published numerous research papers on the rocks of the Catskills.

Steven Schimmrich, Chair of the STEM Department of SUNY Ulster and Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences, says, “During the Devonian Period of geologic time some 400 million years ago, Ulster County went from an area of shallow tropical seas with thriving coral reefs to an uplifted area of river deltas and floodplains with some of the Earth’s earliest fossil forests. Come see how geologists can piece together this part of Earth’s ancient history by examining the rocks on the side of the road we drive past each day.”

The John Burroughs Natural Science Lecture Series is named in honor of renowned local naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921) and is sponsored by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Department. The Series seeks to periodically bring speakers to the SUNY Ulster campus to offer free lectures to the academic community and the general public on topics of interest in the natural sciences.

              To learn more, contact Deborah Kaufman at or by phone at 845-687- 5261.


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