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Commencement Addresses

Dr. Schmidly is available to give presentations or talks to any interested audience or group about his work and publications.  His talks are beautifully illustrated with PowerPoint presentations of historical black-and-white images plus color photographs and images.  Each talk is about 45 minutes in duration followed by 15-30 minutes of questions and dialog.  He also is available to meet with students or other constituencies for discussion sessions. 


Specific examples of talks that he regularly gives include the following:


“The Life and Career of Vernon Bailey: One of America’s Greatest Field Naturalist”


In this talk, Dr. Schmidly uses historical photographs and archival documentation to highlight the life and career achievements of Vernon Bailey, the first Chief Field Naturalist of the U.S. Government.


“Field Companions: The Careers and Marriage of Florence Merriam and Vernon Bailey”


In this talk, Dr. Schmidly makes use of historical records and extensive photographs to document and highlight the achievements of Vernon and Florence Bailey, one of the most honored naturalist couples of the early 20th century.


“Those Amazing Naturalists: The Scientists and Field Agents of the U.S. Biological Survey”


In the early days, before the Civil Service took a stand on the matter, C. Hart Merriam hired a group of young men, many of them farm boys with spotty formal education, and subjected them to his own peculiar brand of on-the-job training, to conduct the field work and investigations for the U.S. Biological Survey.  Dr. Schmidly tells their story and documents their remarkable achievements using archival photographs and other documentation. 


“The Lone Star Saga: How Texas Natural History Changed in the 20th and 21st Centuries”


This talk pulls together information from two of Dr. Schmidly’s best known books.  In Texas Natural History: A Century of Change (2002), he chronicled the changes to Texas’s ecology and biota that occurred during the 20th century.  In the second edition, Texas Natural History in the 21st Century (2022), he extends that story into the 21st century, including a discussion of conservation challenges and solutions for the state of Texas.


“Texas Mammals and the Career of a Naturalist”


In this talk Dr. Schmidly highlights his 50 plus year career of studying Texas mammals, including his most important achievements.  A brief discussion is devoted to his most important publications, and his project with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to prepare for additional protected lands in the state to promote both outdoor recreation and conservation.


“The Mammals of Texas: Diversity, Adaptations, and Conservation Status”


In this talk Dr. Schmidly covers the major taxonomic orders of mammals in the state, both marine and terrestrial, using beautiful color photographs to illustrate their unique adaptations, characteristics, distribution in the state, economic importance, and their conservation status.  Both native, introduced, and domestic species are included.  Endangered and threatened species are highlighted. 


“The Bats of Texas: Diversity and Conservation Challenges”


Texas has more species of bats and larger populations of these flying mammals than any other state in the U.S.  In this talk, Dr. Schmidly uses colorful photographs of their appearance and behavior, unique characteristics, maps of their distributions, their ecological and economic importance, and the many conservation threats that have emerged to their well-being. 


“The Future of Natural History at American Universities”


In this talk, Dr. Schmidly calls on his experience as President of three major universities, as well as his affiliation with international universities, to talk about what has happened to the teaching and research of natural history in American universities.  He pointedly discusses the dangers of the decline in this profession and offers suggestions for strengthening it in the future.


“Wildlife Conservation and Management in Texas: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What is the Future”


Rapidly increasing human pressures have changed the natural landscapes and biota of Texas in both positive and negative ways, and concerns about the future of wildlife diversity in the state have emerged as a central issue.  In this talk, Dr. Schmidly addresses some of the projects, programs, initiatives, and policies that have been implemented or will need to be implemented, in order to address the serious challenges for managing wildlife in Texas in the 21st century.  He presents 11 action steps that will be important to protecting the state’s faunal and floral resources from the onslaught of rapidly expanding populations and associated development and economic growth.


1995, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Fall.


2013, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (COLA), University of Illinois, Spring.


2018, General University Convocation, Texas Tech University, May.

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