ANS Naturalist Hour virtual learning opportunities

Online, interactive talks featuring nature experts.
Register today!

Registrants for upcoming Naturalist Hour programs will receive a confirmation by email with Zoom log-in information. Program timing doesn't work for you? No problem! A link to the recorded program will be sent to all registrants by the end of the month during which the program occurs. You can also purchase recording packages of past Naturalist Hour presentations at the link below!

APRIL 2021

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Maryland's Fossil Sharks:
What Tales Do Shark Teeth Tell?

Dr. Victor Perez
Assistant Curator of Paleontology, Calvert Marine Museum

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Uncover the tales behind shark teeth with Calvert Marine Museum Paleontologist, Dr. Victor Perez. Learn about the history of fossil collecting in Maryland, especially the fossil record of cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, and chimaera). Learn how community scientists have played a major role in documenting the fossil record of Maryland, as thousands collect fossils every year throughout the state. Explore how the fossil data is used to analyze trends in biodiversity, evolution, and ecology.


 

Thursday, April 22, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Fear, Fascination, and Fun in 2021
with the Return of Periodical Cicadas

Dr. Mike Raupp
Emeritus Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland
Fellow of the Entomological Society of America

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Dr. Mike Raupp, Professor Emeritus in Entomology at the University of Maryland, explores the natural history, ecology, and behavior of the seven species of periodical cicadas indigenous to North America. Learn about the fascinating life cycle of periodical cicadas, massive synchronous emergences and the cicada’s bizarre strategy for survival. Get ready for their appearance and impacts to people in our region. (And be sure to visit the Cicada Crew UMD website!)


 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Spilling the Tea
on the Tea World

Dr. Romita Ray
Associate Professor of Art History, Syracuse University

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Join Dr. Romita Ray, Syracuse University Professor of Art History, for a fascinating look at the world of tea. How was Chinese tea visualized in 18th century Britain? And how did this botanical "discovery" seed a thriving tea industry in India? Professor Ray will explore the visual world of the tea plantations where plants, animals, and humans have coexisted since the 1840s.


 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
at 7 p.m.

It's Complicated and Intriguing:
Amphibian Life through the Seasons

Dr. Mike Benard
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University

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Join Professor Mike Benard of Case Western University to examine the complex biology of amphibians from mating season through tadpole development, past metamorphosis, and over winter. We will unveil the fascinating ways that amphibians communicate, respond to natural challenges, and are affected by human-driven environmental change. From predators to pond drying, light pollution to climate change find out how amphibians are coping.


 

MAY 2021

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Fixing the Soil: A Tale of
Fungi and Bioremediation

Serenella Linares
Director of Adult Education, Audubon Naturalist Society

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Join ANS Adult Education Director Serenella Linares to learn about the microscopic heroes that are decomposing plastics, oils, and toxic metals. During this exploration into bioremediation research, we'll explore how microscopic fungi are eating away toxins in the soil.


 

Thursday, May 6, 2021
at 7 p.m.

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Enjoy a virtual trip to the White Sands National Park in South Central New Mexico with ANS Naturalist Gail Melson. White Sands National Park is the largest gypsum sand dune system in the world, yet few people have heard of this unique ecosystem. Learn why gypsum sand is so rare and so cool, and discover the wildlife that live in it.


 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
at 7 p.m.

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Senior Archaeologist Heather Bouslog explains how archaeology is a public service that promotes social justice now and has done so in the past. This presentation shares how the artifacts recovered from the excavations at Oakley Cabin illustrate a community’s on-going creativity, agency and aspiration to create a space for themselves in society.


 

Thursday, May 13, 2021
at 7 p.m.

The Ecology and Conservation
of Native Orchids

Dennis Whigham
Senior Botanist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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Senior Botanist Dennis Whigham will describe efforts to conserve native orchids in the U.S. and Canada through the development of the North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC). NAOCC is based on ecological principles and the participation of community scientists in the collection of the genetic diversity of native orchids and the mycorrhizal fungi that are essential for their survival. Join us for an overview of orchid ecology and NAOCC, including ongoing outreach and educational efforts.


 

Monday, May 17, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Western Tien Shan:
Home of Tulips and Apples

Steven Lonker
Former researcher at Harvard University, Australian National University and Carnegie Institution for Science

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Join Steven Lonker, former researcher at Harvard University, Australian National University and Carnegie Institution for Science, as he takes us to Western Tien Shan, home to exceptionally rich biodiversity, and overflowing with endemic and globally rare species. With spectacular mountains, deep gorges, steppes and deserts, the Western Tien Shan is the place where many edible plants evolved including: almonds, apples, apricots, grapes, irises, pears, pistachios, plums, tulips, and walnuts. Its global importance as a future gene resource for producing disease- and pest-resistance in our food crops, is recognized through its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Ergot & Huitlacoche: Two Mushrooms
That Shaped Human History

Tom McCoy
Programs Chair, Mycological Association of Washington D.C.

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Tom McCoy, Programs Chair of the Mycological Association of Washington D.C., will introduce us to mushrooms that are villains and heroes to human civilization. Ergot and huitlacoche, both parasites of cereal grains, have had incredible impacts on human history due to their close proximity to a choice edible food. Ergot is likely the deadliest fungus of all time, while huitlacoche helped to build one of the ancient world's great empires.


 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
at 7 p.m.

The Lore and Natural History
of Wildflowers

Alonso Abugattas
Founder, The Capital Naturalist

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Join Steven Lonker, former researcher at Harvard University, Australian National University and Carnegie Institution for Science, as he takes us to Western Tien Shan, home to exceptionally rich biodiversity, and overflowing with endemic and globally rare species. With spectacular mountains, deep gorges, steppes and deserts, the Western Tien Shan is the place where many edible plants evolved including: almonds, apples, apricots, grapes, irises, pears, pistachios, plums, tulips, and walnuts. Its global importance as a future gene resource for producing disease- and pest-resistance in our food crops, is recognized through its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
at 7 p.m.

Ergot & Huitlacoche: Two Mushrooms
That Shaped Human History

Tom McCoy
Programs Chair, Mycological Association of Washington D.C.

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Enjoy a virtual walk with one of the most famous naturalists in our region. Alonso Abugattas, the Capital Naturalist, will take us on a virtual wildflower walk, and teach us about the folklore and natural history of many of our later blooming wildflowers. Summer is almost here, but there will still be plenty of blooms to see. Enjoy leveling up on their natural history, folklore, and ethnobotanical uses.