The Community Nature Study Series offers a wide range of topics from black holes to butterflies and beyond! Learn about local species, weather, conservation issues and more in this engaging annual program. Nature Study Series classes are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 22 to February 21, 2019. Classes are based in our indoor classroom at the Highlands Center and include a hands-on lab and/or field component. Register for individual workshops or the entire series! The number of participants per class is limited to ensure low student-teacher ratio. A special 5% Early Bird Discount expires December 25th!
Join expert naturalists, researchers, and conservation leaders from across Arizona in this improved and expanded annual series celebrating study of the natural world. Topics and presenters are carefully selected and classes are designed to be engaging and interactive.
January 22 – Have You Touched a Rain Forest Today?
Presenter: Dr. David Pearson, Research Professor at ASU
The rain forest seems so far away from the deserts of Arizona, but it is in our lives every day. Dr. David Pearson is a Research Professor in the School of Life Sciences at ASU whose current research concentrates on birds and tiger beetles as bioindicators for conservation efforts in tropical lowland rain forests around the world.
January 24 – Climate Change & Solutions
Presenter: Dr. Tom Whitham, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, NAU
Climate change is happening. The question is how locally adapted organisms will respond and what can we do to address its impact? Dr. Tom Whitham and NAU’s Southwest Experimental Garden Array (SEGA) are researching genetic-based solutions that can be applied at the local level.
January 29 – Arthropods: Communities in Soil
Presenter: Derek Uhey, Entomologist and Photographer, NAU
Insects are the most diverse and abundant organisms on the planet! Through macrophotography, specimen viewing, and live insect handling, participants will get a sense of the enormous insect world around us and learn to identify some common local species.
January 31 – Prescott Water Sources & Conservation
Presenter: Leslie Graser, Water Resource Manager, City of Prescott
Do you know where your water comes from and how it gets to your home? Come to this interactive workshop with City of Prescott Water Resource Manager, Leslie Graser, to learn more about the allocation of water resources here in Yavapai County.
February 5 – Black Holes: Into the Abyss
Presenter: Dr. David Cole, Principal Lecturer of Physics & Astronomy, NAU
This workshop will cover everything you want to know about Black Holes but are afraid to ask! Gain a basic understanding of a black hole’s size, energy, radiating power, and lifetime.
February 7 – Tree Stories-Reading the Rings
Presenter: Dr. Kiona Ogle, Professor of Informatics and Ecology, NAU
Ever wonder how we know about past climate, weather events, forest fires, and insect outbreaks? It’s written in wood! In this workshop, Dr. Ogle provides hands-on opportunities to look at the internal structure of trees and learn how they record events over 100’s of years.
February 12 – Grand Canyon Cave Ecology
Presenter: Dr. Jut Wynne, Dept of Biological Sciences, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, NAU
Jut has studied cave ecosystems in the greater Grand Canyon Region for nearly a decade and has discovered nearly 25 new species of cave-dwelling insects and documented numerous bat roosts. In this workshop, he will discuss how animals adapt to and use the cave environment and cover some of the factors driving cave biological diversity in northern Arizona.
February 14 – In Living Color: The Amazing World of Butterflies
Presenter: Ronald Rutowski, Professor Emeritus, Organismal, Integrative, and Systems Biology, ASU
Ever wonder how butterflies are so iridescent and colorful? Or why they have so many different patterns and variations? This program will explore multiple aspects of the diversity of color and pattern in butterflies. Given that the many of the bright colors of butterflies are signals for other butterflies, the final phase of the program will explore the structure and performance of their eyes.
February 19 – Ants & Plants: Community Dynamics and Interactions
Presenters: Kyle Gray & Jean-Philippe Solves
Ants and plants are often considered as separate entities, but there is a whole universe of interactions between them. This program will start with an introduction to the ecology and evolution of ant-plant interactions, followed by a guided hike around the Highlands Center to look at ant and plant communities, and will conclude with a microscopic look at local ants and plants.
February 21 – Severe & Hazardous Weather in Northern Arizona
Presenter: Dr. Curtis James, Professor of Meteorology, Embry-Riddle
What causes Northern Arizona thunderstorms to be so intense and awe-inspiring? In this workshop, participants will learn how atmospheric moisture and rising air produce clouds, precipitation and hazardous weather conditions. Using hands-on demonstrations and visualizations, explore how air becomes unstable and leads to impressive thunderstorm development.