Science Cafe

Science Café

Science Café's help to promote scientific literacy by encouraging relaxed, open conversations among scientists and nonscientists of all ages.

Coffee, Chocolate, Conversation.

Fall 2019

Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils, Opening & Gallery Talk

Friday, October 4, 5-7 p.m.

Agatized Coral

Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils is an exhibition from the personal collections of Sam Upchurch, Ph.D., and Gary Maddox, Apalachee Minerals.  It provides an amazing opportunity to view fine specimens of agatized coral. A mineralized fossil, agatized coral was chosen by the state legislature in 1979 as the Florida state rock. It is a variety of fine-grained crystalline quartz which can be found in several areas in the state, and is highly sought after by collectors. As specialists in Florida geology and karst systems, Professor Upchurch and Mr. Maddox have collected specimens for decades. They will be here to talk about collecting and understanding the geological history which created these rare specimens.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Our Amazing Arachnids: Florida's Spiders and Their Kin

Wednesday, October 30, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in the RELC

media/John Serrao spiders.jpg

John Serrao and friend

In this slide presentation, Florida naturalist John Serrao will introduce the major families of spiders in our region. People are fascinated by spiders, scorpions and other arachnids, but not always in a positive way. The program will dispel myths and misconceptions about these beneficial creatures and showcase the fabulous diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes exhibited by Florida’s many species. More than 70 species will be shown, ranging from tiny, silvery “dewdrop spiders” that loiter in the webs of big orb-weavers to steal unattended prey, to gigantic fishing spiders that can overpower and eat tree frogs, to all 4 species of Florida “widows”. Scorpions and their bizarre cousins, the whip scorpions and wind scorpions, will also be shown, as well as daddy-long-legs, ticks, and other relatives of spiders.

Besides highlighting their beauty and diversity, the presentation will also emphasize the important role that spiders play as predators – and as prey – in our natural communities, and how 99% of Florida’s species are harmless to humans.  As a bonus, John will be bringing several live spiders that are found in our area!

John Serrao received his M.S. degree with an emphasis on entomology from Cornell University and has been a professional naturalist, writer, photographer, and tour leader since the 1970s. He has written 7 books about wildlife and natural history, created dozens of Nature Trails with Self-Guiding Booklets, led thousands of nature walks and slide presentations, and conducted Wildlife Surveys for state parks, nature centers, resorts, and private natural areas. His photos have appeared in hundreds of magazines, textbooks, field guides, and museums. Most recently his work is being featured in a 2-page photo spread in the October issue of Natural History magazine. He lives in DeLand, Florida.

John has partnered with the Gillespie Museum to publish a guide, 75 Spiders of Central Florida, which will be available for purchase and signing.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Florida’s Stewards, Gallery Talk with Photographer Dustin Angell

(Rescheduled to January 16, 2020)

Thursday, November 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m., in the RELC

Dustin Angell conservation photographer

Dustin Angell, Education Coordinator, Archbold Biological Station

conservation photo by Dustin Angell

Conservation fieldwork photo by Dustin Angell

Environmental educator and photographer Dustin Angell will present a gallery talk entitled "Florida's Stewards."  Angell lives and works in the headwaters of Florida's Everglades. As the Education Coordinator at Archbold Biological Station in Venus, FL, he builds community relationships and interprets ecological research for an audience of all ages. Dustin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University. As an artist, he uses photography to document the science and conservation challenges of the region and the people trying to solve them. His photo essay on Florida Grasshopper Sparrows was published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird Magazine. Dustin is the Past President of the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) and the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Spring 2019

A Conversation with the Cast of Florida’s Fossil Hunters

Thursday, February 7, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Fossil Hunters

Explore Florida geology and paleontology with the cast of the Fossil Hunters television series, which follows the adventures of a group of amateur paleontologists and friends as they travel with their families to amazing fossil sites. The world’s first and only fossil hunting television series, Fossil Hunters, highlights the cast’s fossil collections and past and present excavations as well as world-class discoveries. In this informal conversation, with slides, you’ll learn of their travels to various fossil sites and museums, exploring our state’s geological past.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Calcite in Florida/Three Florida Geologists

Thursday, February 21, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Tom Scott's Florida Calcite

Celebrate the opening of our Spring 2019 exhibit Florida Calcite, by joining three of the state’s renowned geologists to discuss Florida calcite, and the geological processes which have created our most common, and most beautiful mineral. Tom Scott, Assistant State Geologist Emeritus, and Harley Means, currently the Assistant State Geologic, both of the Florida Geological Survey, will be joined by Sam Upchurch, Vice President and Senior Principal Geologist (Retired), SDII Global Corporation, and former professor and chairman of the Geology Department, University of South Florida, to discuss their digs, finds, and decades of research.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Florida Conservation Photography: Putting your Photography to Work

Thursday, March 14, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Dustin Angell conservation photographer

Dustin Angell, Education Coordinator, Archbold Biological Station

Environmental educator and photographer, Dustin Angell of Archbold Research Station will give an overview of the developing conservation photography movement, share his portraits and documentary work of Florida ecologists, and offer tips on how others can participate in the movement. Participants will learn about the historical relationship between photography and conservation in the United States and the difference between nature photography and conservation photography.

Angell lives and works in the headwaters of Florida's Everglades. As the Education Coordinator at Archbold Biological Station in Venus, FL, he builds community relationships and interprets ecological research for audience of all ages. Dustin holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Alfred University. As an artist, he uses photography to document the science and conservation challenges of the region and the people trying to solve them. His photo essay on Florida Grasshopper Sparrows was published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird Magazine. Dustin is the Past President of the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) and the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Environmental Change in Florida’s Springs and Sinks: Lessons From the Muck

Thursday, April 25, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Ben Tanner field

Ben Tanner, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Studies, Stetson

The Gillespie Museum’s April Science Café will feature Stetson environmental geologist Ben Tanner discussing some of his recent coastal Florida research.  Florida’s karst systems are responding to a number of stressors including climate change, declining water tables, and anthropogenic nutrient inputs. This talk will describe how organic deposits can be used to infer the response of these environments to past stressors and will explore how this knowledge can be used to help predict future environmental changes in these systems.

Benjamin Tanner is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson and is the Focus Area Leader for Climate Adaptation in the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience. He is a field-oriented environmental geoscientist and outdoor enthusiast who seeks to inspire the next generation to appreciate and preserve our natural areas through the hands-on study of earth places and materials. His education and background--beginning with an anthropology degree (Florida State University), then continuing into Quaternary and climate studies (University of Maine), and culminating in geology (University of Tennessee) -- relate to how humans interact with the environment.

He currently uses the tools of geology to study wetlands and how they respond to climate and environmental change. He also uses wetland deposits to elucidate past climate changes, including temperature, precipitation and sea level changes. He has involved undergraduate students in all aspects of his research and has mentored over 30 undergraduates in research experiences outside of class. Many of these experiences have led to co-authored conference presentations and a journal article publication with the students.

Cultural Credit for Stetson Undergraduates

Fall 2019

October 4 - Sam Upchurch and Gary Maddox - Agatized Coral, Exhibit Opening and Gallery Talk

October 30 - John Serrao - "Our Amazing Arachnids: Florida's Spiders and Their Kin" Slide Presentation

November 14 - Rescheduled - Dustin Angell, photographer, Archbold Research Station - "Florida's Stewards" Gallery Talk

Spring 2020

January 16 - Dustin Angell, photographer, Archbold Research Station - "Florida's Stewards" Gallery Talk

February 5 - Kristen Mattson, Spring Island Trust - "The Ecology of Port Royal Sound"

February 27 - Sam Upchurch and Gary Maddox - "Florida's Own Gems: Agatized Fossil Corals"

March 19 - Jason Evans, Environmental Science and Studies, Stetson - "Facing Down Disaster: Selected Tales of Resilience Planning from the Southeastern Coastal Zone"