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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Science & Nature Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

For centuries, philosophers have attempted to answer the question of whether humans are naturally good or evil without any definitive results. Evolutionary biologist Rui Diogo turns instead to the sciences, anthropology, history, sociology, and other fields to examine what empirical data says about our basic nature—and offers some surprising insights into this age-old inquiry.

Tour
Saturday, November 7, 2020 - 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

The Great Falls of the Potomac is the most magnificent natural landmark in the metropolitan Washington area. Rise early on a crisp fall morning, avoid the crowds, and enjoy a socially distanced, small-group experience in the great outdoors with naturalist Keith Tomlinson.

Tour
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

The Great Falls of the Potomac is the most magnificent natural landmark in the metropolitan Washington area. Rise early on a crisp fall morning, avoid the crowds, and enjoy a socially distanced, small-group experience in the great outdoors with naturalist Keith Tomlinson.

Tour
Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

Naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a virtual excursion to Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac, tracing its beauty and biological diversity as she discusses its woodlands and wildlife.

Tour
Sunday, November 15, 2020 - 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

The Great Falls of the Potomac is the most magnificent natural landmark in the metropolitan Washington area. Rise early on a crisp fall morning, avoid the crowds, and enjoy a socially distanced, small-group experience in the great outdoors with naturalist Keith Tomlinson.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From moles that have super-sensing snouts to eels that paralyze their prey to wasps that can turn cockroaches into zombies, animals possess unique and extraordinary abilities. Biologist Kenneth Catania sheds light on the behaviors of some of these astounding creatures and how studying them can provide deep insights into how life evolved.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Get insights into one of the greatest American wildlife conservation and restoration achievements—the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park—from three of the wildlife biologists who have guided the project since 1995.

Tour
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Environmental historian Hayden Mathews guides a series of virtual Mid-Atlantic tours to whet your appetite for independent exploration and spark your travel plans. With a focus on the Brandywine Valley, he covers the history and background on this area’s distinctive geographical and environmental profile, and offers stunning images, lots of tips and insights for visitors, and other useful resources.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, November 22, 2020 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

There’s likely a cunning top-of-the-food-chain predator living close by you: the Great Horned Owl. Join naturalist Mark H.X. Glenshaw to learn how to find these amazing and beautiful animals and other owls in your own neighborhood.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 23, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The landscape of Glacier National Park, Montana, and surrounding areas reveal evidence of almost two billion years of geologic change. Geologist Callan Bentley offers a virtual field guide to the landscape that focuses on sedimentology, structural geology and tectonic history, paleontology, and glaciers and climate change.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

We humans live in a world driven by chance, one in which many things had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. Sean B. Carroll, an evolutionary developmental biologist, examines the astonishing power of chance and how it provides the surprising source of beauty and diversity in the living world.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Light pollution—excessive illumination at night—has become a pervasive and ugly consequence of our 24/7 society, one that a growing body of research finds disruptive to our bodies and nocturnal ecosystems. Sky and Telescope magazine’s Kelly Beatty as he discusses how we can safely light up our homes, businesses, and communities without wasting energy, disturbing the neighbors, or creating an unhealthy environment for humans and wildlife.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Amid our own global pandemic, certain wildlife are also facing an unprecedented conservation crisis. Scientists Rebecca Gooley and Luke Linhoff of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute discuss their work in taking in members of two animal populations devastated by pandemics —the Tasmanian devil and amphibians—into captivity in order to protect, study, breed, and reintroduce them into the wild. 

Tour
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Environmental historian Hayden Mathews guides a series of virtual Mid-Atlantic tours to whet your appetite for independent exploration and spark your travel plans. With a focus on the Shenandoah Valley, he covers the history and background on this area’s distinctive geographical and environmental profile, and offers stunning images, lots of tips and insights for visitors, and other useful resources.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Ecologist Enric Sala, National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence and director of its Pristine Seas project, asserts that once we appreciate how nature works, we will understand how conservation is economically wise and why it is essential to our survival.

Tour
Saturday, January 16, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

The ancient mountains of Shenandoah National Park harbor many secrets, encompassing geology, diverse native forests, wildlife, and a rich human history. Naturalist Keith Tomlinson covers its geological origins to present-day conservation efforts, providing an intimate appreciation for its unique natural history.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Rita Colwell, a pioneering microbiologist and the first woman to lead the National Science Foundation, has long known that her profession is not always welcoming to women. Yet she and others excelled despite the obstacles they faced. Colwell examines how women successfully pushed back against the status quo—and what science gained in the process.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, January 23, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

If you’ve dreamed of glancing across a dry African savannah or standing beneath a jungle canopy, hoping to get a fleeting glimpse of a wild creature you’ve only seen in a zoo, follow veteran wilderness guide and wildlife photographer Russell Gammon on a virtual safari to his favorite wild places.