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Neighborhood Science is Back!

After a long COVID hiatus, Neighborhood Science is returning to a library near you! At Neighborhood Science, previous SUTS speakers will present at different library branches in the Austin area. Below are the dates and descriptions for this spring’s talks at the Howson Branch and Twin Oaks Branch libraries.

Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

Screenshot of an iNaturalist observation of Texas Thistle, Whitney Behr 6/2/2020 at Pedernales Falls State Park

Tuesday, April 26th 6:00-7:00pm CDT: Whitney Behr – “Plant identification for everybody”

What is that plant that just popped up in your backyard? How do you find out? We will learn how to be plant detectives and figure out the name of any plant with the help of books, pictures, and asking the botanist friends you didn’t know you had. 

Twin Oaks Branch Library, 1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704

Bleached coral. Credit: National Marine Sanctuaries

Thursday, May 19th 6:30-7:30pm CDT: Carly Scott – “Coral Bleaching: An On-Again-Off-Again Relationship

You’ve probably seen photos of completely white – or bleached – coral reefs. This bleaching happens as sea temperatures rise and can be deadly for corals. However, coral bleaching is really the “break-up” between the coral animal and tiny algae partners that live within their cells. Who are these partners? What causes this relationship breakdown? Why are some corals more resistant to warming seas than others? 

Through this talk, we’ll explore the relationship between corals and their algae and how scientists assess which reefs are most at risk.

April 14th, Whitney Behr

Plant identification for everybody

What is that plant that just popped up in your backyard? How do you find out? We will learn how to be plant detectives and figure out the name of any plant with the help of books, pictures, and asking the botanist friends you didn’t know you had. 

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we request that visitors follow CDC and UT Austin-recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of all in attendance:

  • Before attending the event, take the CDC’s online Coronavirus Self-Checker to ensure you are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, please get tested and stay home.
  • We highly recommend masking for all attendees.
  • At this time, we will not be providing food or drinks to reduce the need to remove masks, please plan accordingly.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least six feet between yourself and others, seating will be spaced appropriately.
  • Use the provided hand sanitizer and wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds) frequently.

For those who still prefer to attend virtually, we will be streaming the talk live on our YouTube channelPlease tune in here at 8pm CDT. We ask for your patience in case of technological difficulties as we try out this new hybrid format. Feel free to post questions for the speaker in the comments and email with any issues.

Though we currently plan to have in-person presentations, we may be forced to return to an online zoom format at any time, including for inclement weather. **Please subscribe to our emailsour blogour YouTube channel, or our Facebook page for the most up-to-day event notifications.**

Here’s the schedule for this month’s event (Please note time change due to Daylight Savings):

  • 7:00 pm: Kid’s activities and natural history displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory 
  • 7:15 pm-7:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 8:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker

First time visitor? Please read our pet policy & field station rules here, and find parking info and directions here. Please note that parking permit requirements are not enforced during our events. 

Recording of Why birds are (figuratively) cooler than you

Thanks everyone who came to Julia York’s fascinating talk about birds yesterday! I’m now convinced that birds are dinosaurs, and Austin’s tiny dinosaurs–grackles–are indeed pretty cool! If you weren’t able to attend, check out recording of her presentation and Q&A. And check out our YouTube channel for recordings of our past virtual Science Under the Stars lectures!

This was our final presentation for the Fall 2021 semester. Join us again in February for our Spring semester. Keep an eye here on our website and our Facebook page for updates on our upcoming lineup of speakers and information about our planned move to in-person talks again! Happy Holidays!

Virtual SUTS! Why birds are (figuratively) cooler than you

Welcome to our final Science Under the Virtual Stars of the fall semester! Join us Thursday, December 9th at 7pm CT for our very own co-leader Julia York’s fascinating presentation on birds. Learn how they breathe (yep, differently than us!), their relationship to the dinosaurs of yore (#BirdsAreDinosaurs), and how cool Austin’s grackles really are! See below for some fun bird and dinosaur activities and a link to our virtual natural history tour of Brackenridge Field Laboratory. The live lecture and Q&A will be held over Zoom–link below!

Birds & Dinos, oh my! Click the link above for bird and dinosaur activities for kids of all ages!

Tour of Brackenridge Field Laboratory (13 min)

Archaeopteryx by James Reece, (c)Australian Museum

Zoom Information for live lecture and Q&A, December 9th at 7:00pm CST:

Topic: Virtual SUTS! Why birds are (figuratively) cooler than you
Time: Dec 9, 2021 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 992 1067 6268

December 9th, Julia York

Why birds are (figuratively) cooler than you

Please note that for this event, both the lecture and Q&A will be live and recorded.

Birds are dinosaurs and everyone should be talking about it. If you think about it, dinosaurs are around us all the time yet we don’t often take time to appreciate that fact. Birds are found on every continent, every ocean, every city; they can fly very high, very far, and for long periods of time. Join us at the final Science Under the Stars of 2021 to talk about the evolutionary history of birds, how they breathe and why that matters, fun and interesting bird species, and perhaps even a few new facts about the disdained grackles.

Science Under the Stars has gone virtual! This semester all SUTS activities will be online, but we encourage you to participate outdoors under the stars in your backyard! (If wifi allows for it, of course.) This month’s schedule is as follows:

  • December 8th: Links to the kids activities will be posted here and on our Facebook page.
  • December 9th, 7:00pm CST: Live online lecture and Q&A with the speaker! Please note, you must have a Zoom account to access the talk. You can get a free account on Zoom’s website.

Zoom info:

Meeting ID: 992 1067 6268

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series based in Austin, Texas.