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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

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Author Event | Jennifer Pharr Davis

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 5:36pm

Author Jennifer Pharr Davis visited the Library to discuss her incredible accomplishments in the world of endurance hiking, backpacking, and trail running, and her latest book, The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience.

Jennifer Pharr Davis founded Blue Ridge Hiking Company with the belief that "the trail is there for everyone at every phase of life" and with the goal of getting people–especially women and children–outdoors on their own terms. Pharr Davis is an ambassador for the American Hiking Society, she was featured as one of National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year in 2012 and her record-setting Appalachian Trail hike in 2011 was named "Performance of the Year" by Ultrarunning Magazine. Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked with her husband and young daughter in all fifty states and she is currently hiking the Continental Divide Trail in sections through the Rocky Mountains.

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Nerd Nite #52: Is It Cold In Here or Is It Just Me?

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 8:17pm

Maris Wicks — Is It Cold In Here or Is It Just Me?
Everything you ever wanted to know about Antarctica, and probably some stuff you didn’t (like that time I pooped in a bucket).

About Maris:
Comic book artist and writer with an insatiable appetite for science. Especially science in strange places

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Water 101 | City of Ann Arbor 2018 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 3:21pm

This forum is about the lifecycle of water in Ann Arbor. There is a video about extreme storms in Ann Arbor, presentations from some experts in the field, even a trivia game!

Sustainable Ann Arbor is an annual series presented by the City of Ann Arbor and hosted by the Ann Arbor District Library. The series includes four events held monthly through April, each with a focus on a different element of sustainability from Ann Arbor’s Sustainability Framework. This event is cosponsored by the City of Ann Arbor and details of the series will be posted online on The City of Ann Arbor's Sustainability site. For information and videos from current and past Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums, please visit the City’s Sustainability website.


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Can Stress be Beneficial? Perspectives from Wild Animals

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:24pm

Stress is constant in our lives. From the breakup of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or the frustrations associated with your morning commute, many of us unfortunately experience daily stressors associated with these types of situations. These adverse experiences can be associated with the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. If the situation that is causing us stress is short term, we usually cope and recover. However, if we experience stress for a long period of time (“chronic stress”), this may have very negative effects on our physical and mental health and overall well-being.

From an evolutionary perspective, this is somewhat puzzling. Why would such a system evolve where our physiological responses to challenging situations have negative consequences to our health and well-being? If stress is “bad”, then why do all animals (not just humans) experience it? Could there be situations in which stress is actually good, at least from an evolutionary perspective?

This presentation focuses on understanding the benefits of stress in wild animals from an evolutionary perspective. It presents examples of our research examining how stress experienced during pregnancy may have beneficial effects on offspring, at least in squirrels, and how elevations in stress may cause highly social animals like meerkats to be more cooperative.

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Nerd Nite #54: The Primate That Wears its Heart on its Sleeve

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:21pm

Have you ever been curious about animal behavior? Have you wondered how animals communicate with one another? Do you love primates? Learn about gelada monkeys – Ethiopia’s unique and wonderful highland monkey.

Gelada monkeys are nicknamed “bleeding-heart monkeys” because of a patch of exposed red skin on their chests. Adult male gelada chest patches get brighter red when they’re excited, but this doesn’t happen for adult females, young males, or non-breeding males.

Could the chest patch be an ornament to attract females, like a peacock’s plumage? Or does it signal to other males to back off? How does the environment influence signaling? Patsy discusses all of this and more about her field research in the Simien Mountains.