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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for August 2020: Martin interviews Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace.

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 9:36am

Some people insist that culture is strictly a human feat. What are they afraid of? This book looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too experience your life with the understanding that you are an individual in a particular community. You too are who you are not by genes alone; your culture is a second form of inheritance. You receive it from thousands of individuals, from pools of knowledge passing through generations like an eternal torch. You too may raise young, know beauty, or struggle to negotiate a peace. And your culture, too, changes and evolves. The light of knowledge needs adjusting as situations change, so a capacity for learning, especially social learning, allows behaviors to adjust, to change much faster than genes alone could adapt.

In Becoming Wild, the acclaimed ecologist and author Carl Safina offers a glimpse into cultures among non-human animals through looks at the lives of individuals in different present-day animal societies. By showing how others teach and learn, Safina offers a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity. With reporting from deep in nature, alongside individual creatures in their free-living communities, this book offers a very privileged glimpse behind the curtain of life on Earth, and helps inform the answer to that most urgent of questions: Who are we here with?

Martin's interview with Carl Safina was originally recorded on June 3, 2020.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Eunice Burns

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:02am

Eunice L. Burns was born in 1923 and grew up on a farm in Caledonia, Minnesota. She attended La Crosse State Teachers College and became a physical education teacher. She and her husband Carl Burns had four children, and the family enjoyed camping and other outdoor activities. They were married for fifteen years before his tragic death in a sailing accident. Burns (D) represented the First Ward on the Ann Arbor City Council for six years (1962-68). She championed the Fair Housing Ordinance and the establishment of the Huron River Watershed Council. She passed away on October 20, 2016.

Eunice Burns was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Nerd Nite #65 - A Tale of Two Lakes: Eutrophy in Western Lake Erie and Oligotrophy in Lake Michigan

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 4:24pm

In Western Lake Erie, massive mats of blue-green algae blossom every summer, stirring up memories of the 2014 Toledo Water Crisis with every reappearance. Meanwhile, in Lake Michigan, there are nearly as many invasive mussels in the lake as there are gallons of water. Each mussel is the size of a thumbnail and, under the right conditions, their combined force can filter the entire volume of water in Lake Michigan in less than a week. The resulting crystal clear waters are great for beachgoers but extremely problematic for the lake ecosystem. In this talk, Christine discusses some of the causes of eutrophy (too much vegetation) in Western Lake Erie and oligotrophy (too little vegetation) in Lake Michigan and how lake-wide management strategies for one problem can exacerbate another.

About Christine:

Christine Kitchens is a research technician at the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research at the University of Michigan. She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University and an M.S. in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan. While she performs a variety of tasks at the cooperative institute, she primarily spends her days helping monitor and understand harmful algal blooms in Western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. When she does manage to find some free time, she spends it running around doing more volunteering with the Huron River Watershed Council and other various local environmental organizations, playing video/board games, and basically being a massive nerd in all facets of life.

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Nerd Nite #65 - Cats: A Look Into the Feisty Feline

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 4:16pm

This talk takes a look into the domestication of cats, cultural influences, and a few cat anatomy characteristics. There is also interactive trivia on different cat breeds.

About Jessica Amey:

Jessica loves cats.

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The Iditarod Sled Dog Race Experience

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 12:43pm

Kim Darst from Husky Haven Sled Dogs shares her experience competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska.  Husky Haven Sled Dogs was established in 1999 with two Samoyeds and a dream to run the Iditarod. In 2009 that dream came true, and they were the first team from New Jersey to qualify, enter, and run the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Learn about what it takes to train for the Iditarod!

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Living Off the Land: Pete Griffin, the Storytelling Ranger

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 1:44pm

Pete Griffin, speaker, storyteller, naturalist, and retired Forest Service Ranger joined us to deliver personal stories, photos, and short videos about living off the land in Alaska. 

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Farms and Open Space: Preserving Rural Washtenaw County

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:36am

A panel of experts from Washtenaw County government agencies and nonprofits discuss what we can do to preserve farmland, forests, open space, and natural areas in Washtenaw County. They will highlight what efforts are already under way, and how we can expand efforts to help local farmers and conservationists.

This panel includes members from the Mindful Eating Team of the Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the Park Planning and Natural Areas Planning Department of Washtenaw County, members of the Legacy Land Conservancy, local farmers, and Argus Farm Stop.

This event is in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for January 2019: Martin interviews Thor Hanson, author of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 1:44pm

Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of relationships that bind the human and natural worlds. In Buzz, Thor Hanson (the award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers) takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They've given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.

As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book and you'll never overlook them again.

Martin's interview with Thor Hanson was recorded on August 13, 2018.

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Nerd Nite #56 - The Film Cat-alogue: A Hiss-tory of Felines in Meow-vies

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:19pm

This illustrated lecture provides an overview of the history of cats in movies, including their character types, their narrative functions, the notion of the “feline gaze,” and, of course, cuteness ratings on a scale from 1 to ZOMG KITTEH!!!

About Jen Proctor:

Jen is a filmmaker and Associate Professor of Journalism and Screen Studies at UM-Dearborn. In her spare time, Jen studies abnormal feline behavior.

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A2Energy Power Hour

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 6:15pm

This fun and informative event explains how your house can be made more energy efficient and whether solar power might be an option. 

Presenters include:

-MI Saves: to explain their contractor network and financing options.
-Washtenaw County Staff: to describe their free programs for low-income home owners