To register for programs, please print and return our Winter 2015 Registration
. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive a printed
copy of our program, please email us here or call 860-486-4460.

Special Event: Secrets of Kennewick Man, Saturday, January 24
Community Event: Big Y Kids Fair, Saturday, January 31 & Sunday, February 1

Field Activity: Bald Eagle River Excursion and Museum Tour, Saturday, February 14
Community Event: CT Flower Show, Thursday, February 19 – Sunday, February 22
Teale Lecture: Dispatches From a Hotter Planet & a Cooler Cosmos, Thurs., February 26
Look Up! It’s the Winter Milky Way! Friday, February 27

Museum Lecture: Fungus-Growing Ants & the Evolution of Antibiotics, Sat., March 14
Teale Lecture: Ecological Imperialism Revisited, Thursday, March 26
Museum Lecture: Native Shrubs to Replace Invasives, Saturday, March 28

Field Activity: Exploring Connecticut’s Towns–Windsor! Saturday, April 4
Museum Lecture: Mass Extinction, Saturday, April 11
Teale Lecture: From Silent Spring to Silent Night, Thursday, April 16
Day Trip: Bronx Zoo, NYC, Saturday, April 18
Field Activity: Amazing Aquaponics, Saturday, April 25

Special Event: Secrets of Kennewick Man
This event has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 22,
due to a previous weather cancellation.
Dr. Douglas Owsley, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Farmington High School, 10 Monteith Drive, Farmington, CT 
$10 general admission; $5 for students with ID.
Current FOSA, ASC, Museum of Natural History members, and Farmington students and faculty admitted free with ID. Snow date is Sunday, January 25, 2 pm

The skeleton of Kennewick Man is nearly 9,000 years old, but it’s the last 18 years that have really been eventful. The skeleton was accidentally found in 1996 on the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington. Local investigators first thought the skeleton was that of a possible crime victim, and later proposed the bones might date to the 19th century. When they were determined to be thousands of years older (and included a stone spear point embedded in the pelvis), scientists worldwide became interested.

Scientist Douglas Owsley and a team of specialists were allowed to conduct a 16-day study of the skeleton in 2005. The findings of the research are revisited in a new book Dr. Owsley co-edited, Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton. In this special lecture he will share his findings along with those of other physical and forensic anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists, and geochemists.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center, and the Archaeological Society of Connecticut. The FOSA membership meeting at 1 pm and is open to the public. Notice of cancellation due to inclement weather will be on WTIC AM by 10:30 am.

Community Event: Big Y Kids Fair
Saturday, January 31 & Sunday, February 1 – Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford

Visit the Museum and Archaeology Center’s booth at the Big Y Kids Fair to learn something new about our natural and cultural history! The fair will have many hands-on family activities and educational exhibits. Fun, entertainment, displays, and more are what you will find at the Big Y Kids Fair. For information and directions visit:

Field Activity: Bald Eagle River Excursion and Museum Tour
This event has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 21 due to weather.
Staff, Connecticut River Museum
10:30 am to 2:30 pm Essex, CT
Advance registration required: $45 ($40 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 6+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Learn about the heritage of New England's great river as you explore the museum and enjoy an eagle-watching cruise with a naturalist on the Connecticut River. The morning will include a guided tour of the museum galleries and also an opportunity to see the Holiday Train Show, a fully operational 26-foot model train display.

After lunch, view wintering bald eagles on the Connecticut River aboard Project Oceanology’s heated Enviro-lab III. Learn why this once endangered species is back and thriving in the lower Connecticut River Valley and explore the Eagles of Essex exhibit once back at the Museum. Includes free admission to the Museum’s exhibits and galleries. The departure is subject to weather conditions. While the boat has heat, wearing warm clothes, boots, hats, and mittens is recommended as the best views are from the outdoor deck.  Coffee is provided on the boat, and binoculars are available to borrow. Bring a lunch or try one of the nearby food establishments.

Community Event: Connecticut Flower and Garden Show
Thursday, February 19 – Sunday, February 22 Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford

Escape the winter elements and explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, and accessories. Visit the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History’s Ethnobotany exhibit in the Federated Garden Club's section of the show. The Federated Garden Club section will feature a design and horticulture competition, demonstrations, and educational displays. For information and directions visit the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show at

Teale Lecture: Dispatches From a Hotter Planet and a Cooler Cosmos
Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer and New York University Adjunct Professor
Thursday, February 26, 4 pm – Konover Auditorium, Dodd Research Center, UConn

Just what can science tell us about where we live, who we are, and what our future will be? To help answer this, Seth Borenstein will share his experiences writing about climate change—including the current state of research, and the varied perspectives of scientists, politicians, and climate change deniers. He will also compare how the media has covered climate change to other sciences, such as astronomy.

Seth Borenstein is the recipient of the Outstanding Beat Reporting Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Edward J. Meeman Award for Environment Reporting from the Scripps Howard Foundation. He was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist as part of a team for local reporting of the Columbia space shuttle accident and its causes.

Look Up! It’s the Winter Milky Way!
Dr. Cynthia Peterson, Physics, UConn
Friday, February 27, 7 pm – UConn Storrs.
Advance registration required: $15 ($10 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Explore winters’s night sky during this visit to UConn’s historic planetarium. Learn how to identify the stars, planets, and other celestial objects observable throughout this season. Astronomy Professor Dr. Cynthia Peterson will offer a general orientation to the constellations, planets, and special celestial objects visible in the night sky using binoculars.

Weather permitting, the session will conclude with a trip to the UConn Observatory, using binoculars and the telescope to observe the winter sky. We will observe Orion, the Beehive Cluster in Cancer, and additional open clusters in Canis Major and Taurus. We will also have a waxing gibbous moon to enjoy, brilliant Venus very near Mars in Pisces, and Jupiter in Cancer. Dress appropriately for the outdoor session and please bring binoculars! If skies do not cooperate, we’ll share astronomical resources with a selection of popular atlases, new guidebooks, and useful astronomical magazines and websites, with printed handouts and star-maps to take home.

Museum Lecture: Fungus-Growing Ants and the Eco-Evolution of Antibiotics
Dr. Jonathan Klassen, Molecular and Cell Biology, UConn
Saturday, March 14, 1 pm – Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

Fungal-growing ants have evolved a symbiotic relationship with a fungus that provides them a ready food source. The relative simplicity of this relationship has made it a model for understanding how symbiotic microbial communities function and evolve, and has offered new understandings of more complicated systems, including the human microbiome. For example, we have learned that microbes depend on a variety of natural chemical products, such as antibiotics, to function within these systems. By better understanding microbial ecosystems, we are creating opportunities to discover potential new drug molecules and generate better management strategies for drug resistance.

Teale Lecture: Ecological Imperialism Revisited—
Entanglements of Disease, Commerce and Knowledge in a Global World

Dr. Gregg Mitman, Vilas Research & William Coleman Professor of History of Science,
Medical History & Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thursday, March 26, 4 pm– Konover Auditorium, Dodd Research Center, UConn

Four decades ago, the ideas put forth by Alfred Crosby and William McNeill in The Columbian Exchange and Plagues and Peoples forever changed the importance historians put on the role of cultural and biological exchange between the old and new world. The idea that the transfer of diseases from one population to another played as important a role in empire-building as our human conquests became embedded in our cultural narrative. Mitman’s lecture examines how American military and industrial expansion overseas helped bring into being new views of nature and nation that would, in turn, become the scientific foundation upon which later historical narratives of ecological imperialism relied.

Museum Lecture: From the Wild to the Landscape—
Native Shrubs to Replace Invasives
Dr. Jessica Lubell, Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, UConn
Saturday, March 28, 1 pm – Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

Native shrubs can be used to create attractive and sustainable landscapes that blend naturally with the surrounding flora. Jessica Lubell will discuss underused native shrubs as replacements for invasive plants. Landscapes composed of natives are considered sustainable since native shrubs do not pose a threat of introducing new species to an area. When established in landscape sites similar to their natural habitat, native shrubs require little maintenance, adapt well to local soils and climates, and attract beneficial wildlife to the garden. Jessica’s native plant program utilizes a vertically integrated approach to bring underused native shrubs into greater acceptance.

Field Activity: Exploring Connecticut’s Towns–Windsor!
Christine Ermenc, Director, Windsor Historical Society
Saturday, April 4, 10 am to 12 noon – Windsor, CT
Advance registration required: $15 ($10 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

In each of Connecticut’s 169 towns, the relationship between the State’s natural and cultural history plays out in unique ways. From the indigenous peoples arriving after the glaciers receded and the European explorers and settlers establishing colonies in the New World, to the innovators of the industrial revolution leading to the present day, Connecticut is steeped in history. Join us as we explore Connecticut’s towns and learn about the people and environments that have shaped and continue to shape the Constitution State.

The fourth town in the Exploring Connecticut’s Towns series is Windsor. Land and water shaped Windsor’s settlement patterns from its earliest years. The juncture of the Connecticut and the Farmington Rivers, with adjacent meadowlands, attracted first the Native Americans, and then Connecticut’s first English settlers to this region in 1633. 

The tour will focus on Windsor’s historic Palisado Green, named for the fortified palisade built to protect settlers during the Pequot War of 1637. On North Meadow Road, the oldest road in the colony, we will explore the 18th and 19th century architecture that rings the green and visit the Palisado Burying Ground, which holds the oldest surviving Connecticut gravestone dated 1644. The tour will conclude in the Windsor history galleries of the Windsor Historical Society, providing a glimpse of over 400 years of evolution in Connecticut’s earliest English settlement. 

Museum Lecture: Mass Extinction
Dr. Andrew Bush, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Center for Integrative
Geosciences, UConn
Saturday, April 11, 3 pm – Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

In the past half billion years, numerous mass extinction events have perturbed the Earth’s ecosystems, eliminating many species of plants and animals in a geologically short period of time. The causes of some extinction events are fairly well understood; for example, most paleontologists agree that an asteroid impact 65 million years ago killed off the dinosaurs. The causes of other mass extinctions, like those in the Devonian Period (about 375 million years ago), remain more mysterious. Learn about research techniques that are being used to uncover the mysteries of the Devonian extinction and find out what past mass extinctions can tell us about extinction on the modern Earth.

Teale Lecture: From Silent Spring to Silent Night—A Tale of Toads & Men
Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Thursday, April 16, 4 pm – Konover Auditorium, Dodd Research Center, UConn

The herbicide atrazine chemically castrates and feminizes exposed male amphibians. The exposure results in neural damage and hyperactivity, induces a hormonal stress response that leads to retarded growth and development, and immune suppression. The immune suppression results in increased disease rates and mortality. Though multiple factors contribute to amphibian declines, pesticides likely play an important role. Observations demonstrate the critical impact that pesticides have on both environmental and public health. In particular, ethnic minorities and lower socio-economic communities are at risk from pesticides as they are more likely to live in contaminated communities, work in occupations that increase hazard exposure, and are less likely to have educational and
healthcare access.

Day Trip: Bronx Zoo, NYC
Saturday, April 18 – Departing from UConn Storrs and Cromwell
Advance registration required: Bus Fee $50 ($40 for Museum members) All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Spend the day exploring the world's largest urban zoo, featuring more than 600 species
from around the globe. Enjoy the Bronx Zoo’s world-class exhibits including the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Wild Asia Monorail, JungleWorld, Tiger Mountain, and Madagascar, which provide up-close views of gorillas, crocodiles, tigers, lemurs, and other fascinating wildlife. Other spectacular exhibits and attractions include the snow leopards of the Himalayan Highlands, the World of Reptiles, the Baboon Reserve, animal feedings, and the Children’s Zoo.

The bus will leave Storrs at 8 am and make a second pick-up in Cromwell at 8:45 am. The bus will depart the Bronx Zoo at 4 pm. Please arrive and be prepared to board the bus prior to departure times. Bronx Zoo admission is not included and should be paid at the door or online at

Field Activity: Amazing Aquaponics 

Spencer Curry, Fresh Farm Aquaponics LLC
Saturday, April 25, 10 am to 11:30 am – South Glastonbury, CT
Advance registration required: $20 ($15 for Museum members)

Aquaponic farming couples aquatic animal farming with plant cultivation to establish a sustainable and productive agricultural system. The elements of the system complement one another, establishing a symbiotic relationship where beneficial bacteria in the water turn fish waste into plant nutrients and, in turn, the plants keep the water clean for the fish using their root systems. Learn about the history and the science behind aquaponics and see a farm-based aquaponics operation in action. Then, travel to a nearby site to see a smaller home-based aquaponics system and learn how you can make your own backyard aquaponics garden.