Dr. Samuel Akerly and the Growth of Natural History on Staten Island

Recording of Zoom Meeting Presentation by Edward Johnson on April 25, 2020

Edward Johnson is a Staten Island naturalist, who was the Curator, and eventually the Director of Science at the Staten Island Museum, recently retiring after 32 years of service. He has studied the natural history of Staten Island for over fifty years, and was the Staten Island compiler for the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count for 25 years. Ed also has an interest in local history, and, with his wife Leslie, served as caretaker of the historic Conference House from 1987-1988. In addition, he is also an adjunct lecturer at the College of Staten Island, teaching lecture and laboratory courses in geology. A native Staten Islander, Ed and his family currently reside in Westerleigh.

Dr. Akerly was the owner of a 1680s farmhouse on Staten Island just prior to Frederick Law Olmsted’s taking up residence in 1845. Ed Johnson will discuss Dr. Akerly’s natural history activities at the Olmsted-Beil House; share highlights about another early naturalist, J. Crooke, as well as his contemporary, prolific writer, naturalist, entomologist and historian, William T. Davis. Mr. Johnson will end with educator and naturalist, Carlton Beil, the last to live in the Eltingville home now known as the Olmsted-Beil House.