The Raymond Falconer Natural History Lectures

Ray Falconer The Falconer Lectures are the University at Albany's longest running public science lecture series that were started by Ray when he worked as site manager of the ASRC Whiteface Mountain Field Station in the early 1960's. The original lectures were held in the summer at the Marble Mountain Lodge facility and in 1973, Falconer expanded the lectures to a spring series held on the campus of The University at Albany.

At the beginning of each lecture, Ray would provide a brief weather forecast and discussion, and quickly became known as "The Dean of Weather Forecasting". Sometime in the 1970's, Gertrude S. Thompson, an environmentalist with a keen interest in weather and also a regular attendee of the Falconer lectures, became a close friend of Ray's and made a bequest and established The Ray Falconer Endowed Chair at the University at Albany.

The Spring 2023 Lecture Series

Attend in-person at the University at Albany's Emerging Technology & Entrepreneurial Complex, ETEC, 1220 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12226
(Note: Refreshments served from 6pm and Falconer lectures start promptly at 7PM)

March 28, 2023
Joe Regenstein, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Food Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Cornell University
"Why I Love Factory Farming"
Factory farming has recently gotten an ill‐deserved bad name in the press. Commercial farmers work hard to optimize the success of their plants and animals. As part of this process, they work with companies that support the farming industry to create modern systems that do just that, often with significant attention to animal welfare. The treatment of animals on these farms or ranches often yields the best possible outcomes for the animals, the environment, and consumers. The speaker will explore some of the issues around factory farming to help frame why certain practices are being done and what the benefits might be.
April 4, 2023
Charles Ver Straeten, Ph.D., Devonian/Sedimentary Geologist, New York State Museum
"Two of Earth's Earliest Fossil Forests, Catskill Mountains"
Around 385 million years ago, Earth's first known forests were scattered across the lowlands of ancient eastern New York. At that time, the lands of New York were positioned slightly north of 30‐degrees south of the equator. In 2009, the world's oldest known fossilized forest was discovered by the author in Cairo, New York. It predates the prior oldest known fossilized forest in Gilboa, New York by nearly two million years. In this talk, the story of this exciting geologic discovery will be accompanied by discussions of the setting of these forests, and of forest life in the Devonian Period according to clues gleaned from the New York fossil record.
April 11, 2023
Meghan Conway, Director of Weather Systems & Projects, TruWeather Solutions
"Understanding Weather & Drones"

Pre-Lecture Drone Event · 5-7pm

Join us before the lecture to meet members of the University at Albany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity's course CINF 467: Technology-Based Community Support, as they provide live drone and robotics demonstrations.


Weather conditions have a tremendous impact on our transportation systems, but what happens when experienced human pilots and engineers are no longer onboard to respond adaptively? This is the question faced by the growing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) industry. TruWeather Solutions (TWS), through a partnership with UAlbany's Center of Excellence in Weather and Climate Analytics, is developing innovative UAS beyond visual line‐of‐sight solutions and services that leverage improved drone weather monitoring and forecasting capabilities. Many of these services rely in part on the New York State Mesonet. This talk will feature an overview of TWS's involvement in UAS test ranges and UAS infrastructure planning in New York, particularly with regard to urban applications where spatial variability in wind speed and direction is greatest.

April 18, 2023
Jen Kretser, Director of Climate Initiatives, The Wild Center, Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks
"Let's Talk Climate: Finding Ways to Build Hope and Action for a Resilient Future"
Climate change is impacting all of us and it is happening right here in New York State (NYS). Climate change is overwhelming and can feel pretty hopeless, but there are many ways we canvwork together to build hope and optimism for the future. This conversation will explore what climate impacts are happening here in NYS and the solutions that are available to address the climate crisis. With this climate solutions lens in mind, the speaker will share how education and engaging youth is essential to promote climate action and just transition to a more resilient future. Hear how youth are working across the state to advance climate change education and action. Build a new understanding of the role community partnerships, including the role of cultural institutions can play in supporting young people and engaging the public.

Summer Lectures

The summer Falconer Lectures are held biweekly on Tuesday evenings at 7:00PM at the ASRC Whiteface Mountain Field Station located at 110 Marble Mountain Lane in Wilmington, NY 12997.

Spring Lectures

The spring Falconer Lectures are held on Tuesday evenings at 7:00PM in the University at Albany's Emerging Technology & Entrepreneurial Complex, ETEC, 1220 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12226

Donation Information

Tax‐deductible donations to sustain the Falconer Natural History Lectures may be made out to the "The University at Albany Foundation" and mailed to the University at Albany Foundation UAB‐201, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222. Please address donations as "Attention: Ray Falconer Fund."

In addition, donations made be made online at UAlbany Giving. Just click "Give Now," then "View All Areas of Support," and enter "Attention: Ray Falconer Fund" in the comment box.