Wildlife pathologist to speak at SPARC dinner

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

    COLDENHAM-Ward Stone, an authority on West Nile virus and chronic wasting disease, as well as host of his own environment show, “In Our Backyard,” on WAMC, will be guest speaker at the Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition’s upcoming Rudy Vallet Memorial Dinner. Stone is New York State’s chief wildlife pathologist and for 35 years has researched the diseases of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. He also does field investigations on the effect of pesticides on wildlife, and studies hazardous waste sites, municipal landfills, and industrial discharges into the water, among other subjects. On Monday nights at 8:30 p.m., listeners of Public Radio’s WAMC can hear Stone talk to specialists and policymakers about environmental issues. The Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition will also present environmental awards at the dinner. Those to be honored are Carmen Heitczman, the president of the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; John Yrizarry of Tuxedo, a wildlife artist and naturalist; and Nick Zungoli of Sugar Loaf, a landscape photographer. Three local students — Rebecca A. Young of Monroe, and Tim Zoll and Michael Weidel, graduates of Minisink Valley High School — will receive the Ben Kissam Environmental Conservation Scholarship Award that evening. The dinner is being held in the memory of Rudy Vallet, a Goshen resident who died last October. He was a standard-bearer for the Stewart Lands as the coalitions’s vice-president as well as the Orange County Federation’s most eloquent board member and representative, according to coaltion president Sandra Kissam. Vallet was also a retired biology teacher, who retired after a long career at Chester Junior/Senior High School. “He was always the educator and the moderator,” Kissam said. “He enjoyed people and they loved him.” The dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Spruce Lodge on Route 17K in Coldenham. The cocktail hour will be followed by a buffet at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $40 dollars per person, and the proceeds will help to save the Stewart Buffer Lands. For information and reservations, visit www.sparc.info or call 564-3018.