GHENT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program’s winter lecture series will continue Thursday with a free talk, “From Amazon Warriors to Weed Seed Eaters: Ant Diversity in Columbia County and Their Role in the Farmscape.” The talk, hosted by Kyle Bradford, is slated for January 19, at 7 p.m. in the Hawthorne Valley Place-Based Learning Center.

This richly illustrated talk will discuss the importance of ants in ecosystems, their fascinating natural history, and their distribution patterns in Columbia County. It will also discuss how farming can be conducive to the conservation of rare ant species, and the roles of ants as both pests and predators in agriculture.

The Farmscape Ecology Program has been documenting the ants at Hawthorne Valley Farm and Columbia County at large since 2009. Bradford has been studying ants since he first came to the program in 2012 and is currently completing his Masters’ thesis on ants of inland Massachusetts pine barrens.

This is the third of the four-part free lecture series, The Little Things that run the World. The final talk in the series, dubbed “Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The Incredible Diversity of Wasps,” will be presented by Kendrick Fowler on February 9 at the same time and location.

For extra safety of attendees and presenters, these will be masked events; masks will be available at the event for anyone who may not have one. For more information on the presentations, or for directions, visit the Farmscape Ecology Program website or call (518) 672-7994.