Saturday’s Conserving Carolina lecture to focus on microscopic ‘hidden treasures’

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

Conserving Carolina will host a free lecture titled “The Microscopic World of Water Bears: Hidden Treasures,” presented by Dr. Paul Bartels, professor of biology at Warren Wilson College, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

Bartels will give an introduction to the microfauna of moss, lichens, soil and streams. He will cover the biology of tardigrades (water bears), methods of collecting and observing live microscopic animals, and the research on tardigrades (first in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, now in tropical oceans worldwide) that he and his students have been working on at Warren Wilson College for the past 17 years. 

Bartels is a biophilist. E.O. Wilson coined the term “biophilia” to capture the innate need for nature that is a basic part of being human.

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Over the past 15 years, Bartels has focused his attention on under-appreciated microscopic life, particularly the tardigrades, or “waterbears.” In his lecture, Bartels will share his voyage of discovery with the audience, who will learn first-hand about these ubiquitous, but hidden microscopic treasures, lecture organizers said.

The lecture is part of Conserving Carolina’s monthly Speaker Series at Walnut Creek Preserve.      

The next program at Walnut Creek Preserve will be held on Jan. 19, when geologist Jennifer Bauer will present “Landslides in WNC — where and why, and what can we do.”

Walnut Creek Preserve is private property, and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group). 

Those interested in learning more about the lecture may visit or call Pam Torlina at 828-697-5777, ext. 300, or email

– Submitted by Pam Torlina