Lichenologist Garry Neil at KSB Virtual Speaker Series on Feb. 9 | The Verde Independent

Join Keep Sedona Beautiful on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 5 p.m. for its monthly Preserving the Wonder Speaker Series. This event will be held via Zoom. Please visit the KSB website, for details.

The evening’s speaker is Lichenologist Garry Neil whose topic is “What the Heck is a Lichen?” Simply put, lichens are symbiotic organisms composed of both a fungus and either a green alga or blue-green alga, and in some species both types of algae.

According to Neil, “Lichens are generally ignored by the public, with greater interest focused on flowering plants and trees. However, I believe that once you start to focus on lichens many will find that they are fascinating organisms.”

Garry has an academic background in lichen physiology and ecology. Retirement has provided an opportunity for him to delve into lichen taxonomy and identification.

Since 2015, at the request of Janie Agyagos, Red Rock Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, Garry has been working with the Forest Service doing a survey of lichen species growing within our region.

The Forest Service is particularly interested to learn whether there are rare or endangered species in our area. Since that time Garry, and with the assistance of Frank Bungartz, Collection Manager of Lichens at ASU, have discovered over 260 species of lichens, some of which have never been observed and documented in this area. Garry will share highlights of this project as well as explore this fascinating group of organisms along with providing examples of species that are found within the Red Rock Ranger District.

KSB’s next Speaker Series presentation will be at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday March 16, 2022, featuring a panel discussion by concerned citizens and officials on the subject of the OHV Crisis in Sedona. Please note that in order to accommodate a full panel of speakers, the evening will take place on the third Wednesday as opposed to the usual second Wednesday of the month.

Keep Sedona Beautiful’s monthly Preserving the Wonder™ Speaker Series focuses on presenting a diversity of programs relevant to the unique environment of our region. Fifty years ago, In 1972, Keep Sedona Beautiful was founded in a Sedona living room by people who were concerned about keeping litter and “honky tonk” signs off the roadsides – sixteen years before the City of Sedona was incorporated in 1988. Once established, and in an effort to counterbalance the effect of a city that straddled two counties and lacked local city guidelines for building homes and landscaping, KSB advocated for landscaping with native plants and sponsored Residential Design Guidelines for Sedona and the Surrounding Red Rock Area home designs.

For the past fifty years, the nonprofit organization has been dedicated to conserving the area’s beauty by opposing ill-considered growth and disregard for maintaining precious resources such as clean water, dark skies, and native plants, as well as noise pollution, etc. To launch KSB’s 50th anniversary, the Board of Directors has updated its mission statement: To protect and enhance the scenic beauty and natural environment of Sedona and the Verde Valley. For more information about Keep Sedona Beautiful, please visit

Information provided by Keep Sedona Beautiful.

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