counterforce lab: news & events > eyes in the sky, birds in the heart and mind salon # 3

2023 counterforce lab salon series
eyes in the sky / birds in the heart + mind

salon # 3
dr. ursula heise (ucla english) and ellie diamant (counterforce lab; ucla eeb) explore how interspecies friendship can help foster the creation of urban environments which serve both humans and our non-human counterparts.
feb.06.2023 12:00 – 1:00pm 
eda broad art center at ucla
watch recorded event:

Our third lecture in the series featured Dr. Ursula K. Heise, the Chair of the Department of English and professor at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, in conversation with Ellie Diamant, PhD Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Director of the Counterforce Lab.

Through her work, Dr. Heise advocates for multispecies justice in urban landscapes that create better environments for humans and our nonhuman counterparts. As part of an environmental storytelling partnership with the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Dr. Heise explores how the Los Angeles city scape is a sanctuary for the endangered red-crowned parrot. Ultimately, Dr. Heise applies the importance of multispecies justice to her discussion of the “urban ark” of city ecologies in which we move past trying to reconstruct past ecologies in favor of creating more inclusive future ones.

Ellie Diamant studies how birds, specifically juncos, in Los Angeles adapt and shift in urban areas, determining if and how we can predict bird response to cities. Beyond urban juncos, she has explored the evolution of variation in male-like color traits in female hummingbirds, nesting behavior in cavity-nesting birds, and population response to multiple stressor interactions. She uses techniques from evolution and behavioral ecology to parse apart what drives birds to act and look like they do. Fostering interspecies friendships with birds drives her day-to-day work, which she hopes can help envision a shared future between humans and non-humans in an age of rapid global urbanization.