Fragile Legacy: An Adventure in Art, Science and History

Event Date:
10/2/2017 - 10/2/2017

Event Time:
6:00 pm

Club Programs

Science and art merge seamlessly in the works of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, famed master glass artisans of the 19th century. In 1885, Cornell’s first president Andrew Dixon White authorized purchase of over five hundred Blaschka glass models of marine life. These exquisitely crafted models enabled study of extraordinarily delicate creatures that could not otherwise be readily documented or preserved at that time. 

Fast-forward to the present day. The timeless sea is changing, and scientists around the globe are struggling to understand the impact of alterations in ocean chemistry and temperature on the ocean. Among the leaders in the effort to understand environmental change is Dr. Drew Harvell, a marine biologist in Cornell’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is also the Curator of the Cornell collection of Blaschka glass, now partially restored and on display, and the author of the award-winning book “A Sea of Glass: Searching for the Blaschkas' Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk.” Drew is the subject of an award-winning film by David O. Brown (CU’83), entitled “Fragile Legacy,“ in which the team embarks on a global journey to locate living examples of the Blaschka models.

Join Drew and David for a screening of the film and a book talk, an evening filled with the colorful forms of sea life, and colorful behind-the-scenes anecdotes of the quest to find and film them.

Drew Harvell is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University and Curator of the Blaschka Marine Invertebrate Collection. She teaches courses in marine ecology, marine invertebrate biodiversity and conservation oceanography. Her research on the sustainability of marine ecosystems has taken her from directing projects with The World Bank on the reefs of Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. She is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and a winner of the Society of American Naturalist Jasper Loftus-Hills Award. She has published over 150 articles in journals such as Science, Nature, and Ecology. Her first book, A Sea of Glass (2016) won a National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature and was one of 2016’s best “Art Meets Science” books by Smithsonian Magazine and was featured by Discover, Scientific American, The Guardian, The New York Times and Nature, with full chapters excerpted in Natural History and American Scientist.

David Owen Brown works worldwide as a producer/cameraman, specializing in marine and aquatic conservation subjects and issues. His work has aired on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Discovery Channel and National Geographic television. His photography appears in numerous exhibits and publications, including the Smithsonian's Ocean Planet and Ocean Hall, the American Museum of Natural History’s Water and the New York Times. As a member of the Cousteau team, David participated in filming expeditions with vessels Calypso and Alcyone, exploring above and below water environments globally. He founded Passage Productions, a documentary film company and stock house, where he conceived and produced the first live underwater broadcast from underwater onto the Internet. David is a National Fellow of the NYC Explorer’s Club. David produced, wrote and directed “Fragile Legacy,” winner of awards for Best Picture, Best Short Film, Best of Show on the international film festival circuit.

6:00pm reception; 6:30pm screening and lecture, gratis. Copies of  “A Sea of Glass: Searching for the Blaschkas' Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk” will be available for purchase at the event. Advance reservations required by Friday, September 29th. Attendees are invited to dine at The Club with Mr. Brown and Professor Harvell following the lecture. The cost is $40 per person, inclusive of tax, gratuity and one glass of wine with dinner. Dinner reservations are required 48 hours prior to the program. Same-day cancellations and no shows will be charged.


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