To register for programs, please print and return our Fall 2014 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.

Field Activity: Mysterious Mushrooms,
Saturday, September 13
Community Event: Celebrate Mansfield Festival, Sunday, September 21
Teale Lecture: The Global Urban Crisis & a Way Forward, Thursday, September 25
Field Activity: Stream Insects, Saturday, September 27

Special Event: Meigs Point Festival, Saturday & Sunday, October 4 – 5
Special Trip: Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Avella, PA, Friday – Sunday, October 10 – 12
Special Event: Connecticut Archaeology Fair, Saturday, October 18
Field Activity: Archaeology Field Workshop, Saturday, October 25
Teale Lecture: Being Urban: Density & the Green City, Thursday, October 30

Field Activity: Walktober-Vampire Folk Beliefs, Saturday, November 1
Field Activity: New Series: Exploring CT’s Towns–Portland! Saturday, November 8
Day Trip: American Museum of Natural History NYC, Saturday, November 15
Teale Lecture: Climate Change in the American Mind, Thursday, November 20

Museum Lecture: Symbiosis in Your Backyard, Saturday, December 6
Museum Lecture: Regenerating Tropical Forests, Saturday, December 13
Workshop: Make a Bird Feeder Kids Drop–In Activity, Saturday, December 20

Mysterious Mushrooms
Connie Borodenko, Connecticut Valley Mycological Society 

Saturday, September 13, 10 am to 11:30 am, rain or shine

Hebron, CT (directions will be sent to participants)
Advance registration required: $20 ($15 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Neither plant nor animal, mushrooms and other fungi are curious life forms indeed! They pop up suddenly, often becoming fully-grown in a matter of hours. Why are they in their own taxonomic kingdom? What does their lifecycle consist of? Discover the startling, colorful, sometimes delicious, and sometimes deadly, world of mushrooms and fungi with mycologist Connie Borodenko. Bring a basket and paper bags for gathering these denizens of the shadows during the first hour of the program. Then learn about the fascinating world of fungi as we discuss the findings with our mushroom expert. This hike may be challenging for some and will include hilly areas.

11th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival
Mansfield Downtown Partnership
Sunday, September 21, 12 noon to 4 pm
E.O. Smith High School, Storrs-Mansfield, CT
No registration required – FREE
All ages are welcome.

Enjoy music, food, art, children’s events, games, and more at the 11th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival. This year the Museum will once again join in the fun as Mansfield businesses, organizations, and school groups offer a variety of activities. Previous festival activities have included cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, musical entertainment, a pie eating contest, a jump rope challenge, and a beanbag toss. Come and visit the Museum’s table as you experience a very entertaining afternoon!

The Global Urban Crisis and an Ecological Way Forward
Dr. Steward Pickett, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Thursday, September 25, 4 pm–FREE
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Konover Auditorium

University of Connecticut, Storrs

Urban areas today are expanding at an unprecedented rate across the globe.  There are more and more new cities by the year, and the largest of existing cities are growing still larger.  On the one hand, cities can be the epitome of sustainability, reaping the benefits of proximity, efficiency, and innovation.  On the other hand, they can be graveyards of dreams and sources of contamination.  As cities grow, change, and become ever more connected to global networks, societies are presented with choices.  Cities are in crisis: do they move toward sustainability, or do they slip backwards into unsanitary and vulnerable states?

Presented by UConn’s Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series – bringing leading scholars and scientists to the University of Connecticut to present public lectures on nature and the environment. 860.486.4460 -

Stream Insects
Paula Coughlin, Science Educator
Saturday, September 27, 10 am to 12 noon
Pomfret, CT (directions will be sent to participants)
Advance registration required: $15 ($10 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 5 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Connecticut’s streams play an important role in maintaining a healthy environment. While they may appear to be crystal clear, the water quality in some streams can be questionable. The presence of certain aquatic insects can be indicators of water quality as some types of aquatic life are more sensitive to pollutants than others. Join naturalist and science educator Paula Coughlin and explore a small stream to learn about a community of aquatic insects that are water quality indicators. Bring appropriate footwear for moderate hiking and boots or old sneakers that can get wet. Dress for mucking about in the stream. Special nets and waders will be provided during this family friendly activity.

Meigs Point Festival
Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5, 10 am to 5 pm, rain or shine
Hammonasset State Park, Madison, CT
No registration required – FREE
All ages are welcome. Atlatl activity is limited to adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Join the Museum and Archaeology Center and the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology (FOSA) at the Meigs Point Festival — celebrating nature, native skills, and music at Hammonasset State Park! Explore Connecticut’s vibrant natural and cultural history. Come try your hand at using the atlatl, an ancient spear-throwing tool that predates the bow and arrow. There will be ongoing amateur atlatl contests and the New England Atlatl Championship. Additional activities will include Native American drumming and dancing, State Troubadours Tom Callinan and John Campbell with the Kerry Boys, nature programs, Meigs Point Nature Center activities, archaeology and geology exhibits, antique cars, fire trucks, farming exhibits, and farm animals.

Special Trip: Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Avella, PA
Friday, October 10 through Sunday, October 12
Advance registration required: $325 (double room) or $420 (single room)
Adults and children ages 12 and above.
Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

The 16,000-year-old Meadowcroft Rockshelter is the earliest known site of continuous human habitation in North America! Property owner and museum founder, Albert Miller, discovered the first prehistoric artifacts found at Meadowcroft in 1955. In 1973, the first professional excavation of the rock shelter was conducted by the Cultural Resource Management Program of the University of Pittsburgh and directed by Dr. James M. Adovasio. Today, ongoing research and excavation continues under the direction of Dr. Adovasio through the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI). The excavation protocols used at Meadowcroft are considered state-of-the-art and Meadowcroft is widely regarded as one of the most carefully excavated archaeological sites. Don’t miss this special opportunity to explore this National Historic Landmark and Meadowcroft Village, which recreates an Upper Ohio Valley village from the mid-19th century.

The fee includes round trip bus transportation (gratuity included), two nights’ accommodations at Hilton Garden Inn, two upgraded full breakfast buffets, entrance to the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, boxed lunches during the Meadowcroft Rockshelter visit, and a tour led by Dr. Adovasio

This trip is sponsored by the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology (FOSA) with
the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center at UConn. Advance registration with full payment to FOSA is required prior to trip. To request a Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village trip registration form, please contact David Colberg at or 860.486.5690.

Connecticut Archaeology Fair
Saturday, October 18, 10 am to 4 pm
Exley Science Center, Wesleyan University, 265 Church Street, Middletown, CT
No registration required: Free with a suggested $5 donation for 18 and over.

Explore and learn about many of the archaeological investigations going on around the state. Local archaeological societies, historical societies, and universities will have displays highlighting past and current excavations and research. View and touch real artifacts! Have questions about archaeology? There will be archaeologists there to provide answers. Whether you just have a passing interest in archaeology or you want to find out how to become more involved, there will be something for everyone. Stop by and visit the Museum and Archaeology Center’s booth! Parking is to the rear of the Exley Science Center, with access from Lawn Ave., or on Lawn Avenue and other surrounding streets.

Archaeology Field Workshop – Learning The Basics
Mandy Ranslow, Registered Professional Archaeologist, Friends of the Office of State Archaeology
Saturday, October 25, 9 am to 11:30 am
UConn, Storrs Campus (directions will be sent to participants)
Advance registration required: $20 ($15 for Museum members)
Adults and children ages 10 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

What happens at an archaeological dig? Learn about the science, field techniques, tools, and cultural aspects of archaeology from professional archaeologist Mandy Ranslow. Participants will be part of a real archaeological field crew, doing hands-on fieldwork at a genuine, ongoing historic house excavation at UConn. Findings at the site add important information to our understanding of Connecticut’s rich historic past. If you like to solve historic mysteries and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then this is the activity for you!

The Importance of Being Urban: Density and the Green City
Julie Campoli, Author and Photographer, Terra Firma Urban Design
Thursday, October 30, 4 pm–FREE
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Konover Auditorium

University of Connecticut, Storrs

For twenty-five years Julie Campoli practiced land planning and urban design in the state of Vermont, working with non-profits, municipalities and state agencies to steer growth into a more efficient and contextual pattern. Her firm, Terra Firma Urban Design specializes in street design and site planning for affordable housing, emphasizing the infilling of existing neighborhoods. More recently, she has focused on building flood resiliency in riverside downtowns. Her work includes creating photographs, maps, simulations, graphics and other tools to help people understand the relationship between design concepts and real places.

Presented by UConn’s Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series – bringing leading scholars and scientists to the University of Connecticut to present public lectures on nature and the environment. 860.486.4460 -

Quinebaug Shetucket Heritage Corridor’s “Walktober”
Vampire Folk Belief in Historic New England
Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni, Office of State Archaeology
Saturday, November 1, 10 am to 12 noon, rain or shine
Jewett City, CT (map will be mailed to participants)
Advance registration required; this walk is limited to no more than 70 people.
FREE for adults and children ages 12 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please register by mail or call the Museum to reserve your space!

Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni will lead a walk through an area of Connecticut’s Quiet Corner steeped in history and folklore. In 1990 a couple of very surprised young boys discovered two skulls at the site of a new gravel quarry in eastern Connecticut. Dr. Nick Bellantoni, Connecticut’s State Archaeologist at the time, and others were called in to investigate what turned out to be a forgotten colonial family cemetery. One grave in particular caught their eye. Someone had arranged the burial in an unusual way. This led to further investigation involving archaeology, forensics, genealogy, and folklore that produced the theory that the cause for the oddity in the burial was the belief that its occupant was a vampire. Vampire folklore was rampant in New England from 1780 to the 1890s, and a combination of disciplines helps archaeologists today discover more about peoples’ attitudes towards health and healing during this period. As was learned, a real public health issue was to blame. Presented by the Griswold Bicentennial Committee and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center.

New Series: Exploring Connecticut’s Towns–Portland!
Susan Fiedler, Brownstone Quorum
Bob McDougall, Portland Historical Society
Saturday, November 8, 10 am to 12 noon
Portland, CT (directions will be sent to participants)
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 third town in the series is Portland, a small community with a huge history. The brownstone industry began in colonial times and reached its peak in the mid 1800s. Many buildings, monuments and landscapes feature its distinctive dark sandstone. This tour will include the National Historic Landmark Brownstone Quarries, local examples of brownstone architecture and gravestones, and a unique historic landscape. The removal of 1 billion cubic yards of stone created sheer cliffs and dramatic topography, which bring the stories of immigration, the industrial revolution, and even the Works Progress Administration to life.

Despite its prolific use and fame, half of the stone excavated from the three pits never left town. Portland has the most Connecticut River frontage in the State and was continuously transformed over hundreds of years as unsalable stone, or ‘slag’, was used to fill in the flood plain, shifting the shoreline 200 feet towards Middletown. Later, the area was covered by wharves, cranes, and a factory that prepared ornate facades to be re-assembled in New York, Boston, and other cities. To the north, the need to ‘dump’ resulted in the Riverfront Park, a remarkable “40 acre sculpture.” As it looks to the future, the community is looking to capitalize on the significance of these resources, and expand their impact.

Susan Fiedler of the Brownstone Quorum will describe changes to these historic vernacular landscapes over time, and aspects of preservation planning. Bob McDougall will describe what life was like for the thousands of men working the quarries and their families, and how this heritage influenced the development of the town. A 1.5 mile walk will loop from the Park, on to Brownstone Avenue, up Silver Street, along Main Street, and down Middlesex Avenue. This includes a vertical grade change of about 300 feet. There will be an optional hike around the Park trails, which are narrow with short steep inclines.

The American Museum of Natural History, New York City
Saturday, November 15
Advance registration required: Bus Fee $50 ($40 for Museum members)
Departing from UConn Storrs Campus (directions will be sent to participants)
All ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Explore the world's largest natural history museum, the American Museum of Natural History. It is one of the world's preeminent institutions for scientific research and education, with collections of more than 32 million specimens. Special temporary exhibits include Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, IMAX: Great White Shark, and Spiders Alive! The spectacular permanent exhibits feature dinosaurs, world cultures, gems, minerals, animals of the world, biodiversity, and the Hayden Planetarium.

The bus will leave Storrs at 8 am and have a second pick-up in Cromwell at 8:45 am. The bus will depart AMNH for Connecticut at 4 pm. Please arrive and be prepared to board the bus prior to departure times.

Admission to the Museum is not included and should be paid at the door.
For a preview, and prices for admission packages, go to the AMNH website

Climate Change in the American Mind

Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication,
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Thursday, November 20, 4 pm–FREE
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Konover Auditorium
University of Connecticut, Storrs

Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz is Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a research scientist at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He will discuss recent trends in Americans' climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy support, and behavior, and discuss strategies for more effective public engagement.

Presented by UConn’s Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series – bringing leading scholars and scientists to the University of Connecticut to present public lectures on nature and the environment. 860.486.4460 -

Symbiosis in Your Backyard
Dr. Louise Lewis, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UConn
Saturday, December 6, 1 pm

Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

No registration required – FREE

Adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The relationship between the clownfish and the sea anemone is often used as an example of a symbiotic relationship. While the anemone’s stings deter larger predators from eating the clownfish, the clownfish, which is immune to the stings, protects the anemone by eating invertebrates that could harm it as well as provides the anemone nourishment through its food waste. However, you don’t have to go to the ocean to discover these symbiotic relationships in action—from the microorganisms living in you to the diverse organisms in your own back yard, symbiotic relationships occur throughout nature.

Join Dr. Louise Lewis and learn how symbiosis happens all around us in nature. Dr. Lewis will also discuss her work on algae that form symbiotic relationships with spotter salamanders and other amphibians.

Regenerating Tropical Forests
Dr. Robin Chazdon, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UConn
Saturday, December 13, 3 pm
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

No registration required – FREE

Adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tree by tree and acre by acre, the clearing of the earth’s great topical forests during the 20th century to harvest timber and establish farms, plantations, roads, and cities, caused extraordinary changes to the environment. Deforestation displaced rural populations, caused the extinction of countless plant and animal species, leads to erosion and desertification, released large amounts of previously stored carbon into the atmosphere, and diminished an ecosystems ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere, recycle nutrients, filter ground water, and regulate water flows. Today, however, deforestation rates are declining and some forests are beginning to return.

Join Dr. Robin Chazdon, the principal investigator in the new research coordination network People and Reforestation in the Tropics: a Network of Education, Research, and Synthesis and a long-term researcher on tropical forest regeneration. Learn what researchers and nonprofit organizations are doing to bring these second-growth forests back in the most successful ways possible. A book signing of Dr. Chazdon’s new book Second Growth: The Promise of Tropical Forest Regeneration in an Age of Deforestation, which reviews present and past human impacts on tropical forests, the ecology of forest regeneration, and local and global forest stewardship, will follow the talk.

Kids Drop-In Activity: Make a Bird Feeder!
David Colberg, Museum of Natural History, UConn
Saturday, December 20, 10 am to 12 noon
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, UConn Storrs

No registration required – FREE

Making a bird feeder is a fun way to learn about the birds around your home. With birdseed and common household items, such as water bottles, milk jugs, cardboard rolls, and a little imagination, you can create a fantastic birdfeeder for your backyard. Once hung, view birds up close and maybe hear them sing. Get out your binoculars and enjoy the show!

Drop in anytime between 10 am and 12 noon on this Saturday to join in this fun hands-on activity and explore your world through experimentation and observation. Students entering grades 1 through 5, accompanied by an adult.