Watershed Moments Community Learning Series

Past Events

Audience attending Peter Marra Watershed Moments event in May 2019
Lynne Cherry discussing Young Voices for the Planet film series during February 2017 presentation at the Appalachian Laboratory
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold during Watershed Moments presentation in November 2016.

Past Watershed Moments: 

June 2023


Navigating the waters of arid lands

In this upcoming presentation, Stephanie describes her position as a hydrologist for the US. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Southwest Region, where water is scarce and the competition for it is high. Hear about the hardships and challenges of making every drop count and what it takes to sustain habitats for threatened and endangered species in desert lands that have been extensively engineered to support human activities. Furthermore, learn how Stephanie acquired her position at USFWS, as well as other approaches on how to secure a permanent position in the Department of the Interior.  

Learn more about the Southwest Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Service     

May 2023:

Dr. Kelly Pearce in the field.

Conservation through Collaboration: Using camera traps to form partnerships and inform conservation in the French Creek Watershed

Private land provides critical habitat for many wildlife species which makes landowners and land trust organizations critical partners in conservation efforts. However, there is often little known about wildlife on private lands, because of lack of resources or incentives to conduct reliable surveys. In this presentation, Kelly will share an on-going 2-year project in Northwestern Pennsylvania, in which the Watershed Conservation Research Center used camera traps to collaborate with the French Creek Valley Conservancy, the Foundations for Sustainable Forests, and private landowners in the region to better understand the terrestrial diversity on their lands to help inform future conservation plans and purchases in the French Creek Watershed, the most biologically diverse watershed in the state. 

No recording available. 

Learn more about the Watershed Conservation Research Center 

September 2022

The Appalachian Laboratory at 60: Celebrating 6 Decades of Science in Western Maryland!
On Thursday, September 22, 2022, at 6:30pm the Appalachian Laboratory hosted a special Watershed Moments Community Learning Series event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Laboratory.
In 1962, during a time of increased interest in the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the Appalachian region, the Appalachian Laboratory first opened its doors in a storefront on U.S. Route 40 in downtown Lavale. Then called the Appalachian Research Laboratory, its primary purpose was to provide scientific research on timber quality and fish and wildlife resources in western Maryland.  Since then, the Laboratory, now part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, has grown from the four researchers who worked in that original storefront to include more than fifty scientists, graduate students, and staff members engaging in research activities worldwide.
“For sixty years, the Appalachian Laboratory has been a member of the western Maryland community, conducting innovative scientific research both here and throughout the world,” said Dr. David Nelson, Appalachian Laboratory Director and Professor. “We look forward to the next sixty, continuing to engage in and promote scientific inquiry and training future scientists for generations to come in the mountains of Maryland.
Attendees learned about the past, present and future of the Lab through special presentations by Dr. Ray Morgan, Professor Emeritus, and Dr. David Nelson, Director and Professor, and the Laboratory officially launched the Appalachian Laboratory Inspiration Award. Poster presentations on current research by current faculty, students, and visiting scientists were be on display in the lobby before and after the presentation and a birthday-party themed reception followed. 

April 2022

Appalachian Water Security: Impacts and opportunities of a changing climate
Climate change has emerged as one of the greatest challenges for humanity in the 21st century, with the strategic importance of water resources expected to intensify as warming produces more frequent and intense extreme events that disrupt day-to-day life. While climate change poses significant risks to already stressed and vulnerable communities, ecosystems, and economies throughout the central Appalachian Mountains region, it also provides opportunities for reshaping the region by rethinking our relationship to water, natural resources, and the economy. This presentation will explore the hidden role of water in our lives, what climate change and its impacts look like throughout the region, and discusses opportunities to reshape our future based on sustainable and just practices.  

November 2021

Katie Fallon. Photo courtesy of www.katiefallon.com/bio/
Vultures are often overlooked, underappreciated, and unloved, despite the vital role they play healthy ecosystems. Worldwide, vultures are more likely to be threatened or endangered than any other group of raptor, but in the United States Turkey and Black Vultures may be increasing in number. Based on Katie Fallon’s recent book, this fun presentation discusses the life and times of the noble Turkey Vulture, including its feeding, nesting, and roosting habits, migratory behaviors, and common misconceptions.
Katie Fallon is one of the founders of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia (ACCA), Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds through research, education, and rehabilitation. The ACCA is based near Morgantown, WV, and each year treats more than 500 injured wild birds, conducts dozens of environmental education programs, and sponsors research projects. Learn more about the ACCA and how you might support their work at https://www.accawv.org/
Katie Fallon is the author of the nonfiction books Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (Brandeis University Press, 2020 and University Press of New England, 2017) and Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird (Ruka Press, 2011), which was a Finalist for the Reed Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment. Katie is also the co-author of two books for children, Look, See the Bird! (2017) and Look, See the Farm! (2018), both from Hatherleigh Press.
A member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, Katie has conducted educational programs featuring a variety of raptor, parrot, and corvid species. Katie has also served as President of the Mountaineer Chapter of the National Audubon Society.A lifelong resident of Appalachia, Katie’s great-great grandfather, great-grandfather, and grandfather were coal miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. She lives in Cheat Lake, WV, with her family.

May 2021

Rebekah Taylor, Where the Ticks Are: Mapping the location of pathogen-carrying ticks in western Maryland

As the days get warmer, are you planning to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors in western Maryland? If so, you may be concerned about encountering ticks and tick-born diseases.  Join us for Where the Ticks Are: Mapping the Location of Pathogen Carrying Ticks on Western Maryland to learn more about ticks in our region. Dr. Rebekah Taylor, Associate Professor of Biology at Frostburg State University, shares the ongoing research she and her students have been conducting on ticks and Lyme disease in western Maryland. 

To Submit Ticks to Dr. Taylor:
  • Ticks must be dead and securely taped to an index card.
  • Label the card with the date and approximate location where it was found and enclose it in a sealed plastic bag. Tick samples may be whole, partial or crushed. If a tick is still alive, it should be frozen for 24-plus hours before mailing.
  • Mail tick samples to Dr. Rebekah Taylor, Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532. 

*** Please do NOT deliver or mail ticks to any other location or facility**

May 2021

Dr. Helen Bailey, "Chesapeake DolphinWatch: Dolphins in the Chesapeake" 

Helen Bailey, a Research Associate Professor with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science based at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, founded the Chesapeake DolphinWatch project in 2017 to learn more about bottlenose dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay. As an important feature of the project, volunteers, also known as citizen scientists, report their dolphin sightings through the Chesapeake DolphinWatch mobile app and website. These reported sightings help Bailey and her team identify the best locations in the Bay to set up underwater microphones to record dolphins communicating, allowing researchers to  learn more about how and where the dolphins find food and navigate the Bay.
The DolphinWatch app is available for IPhone and Android devices. A website version is also available. 
Helen Bailey studies protected species in order to understand their movements and habitat use, and inform conservation and management. She has published 50 journal articles, specializing in marine mammals and sea turtles. She received her B.A. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, UK, and her M.Sc. in Oceanography from the University of Southampton, UK.  Dr. Bailey was awarded her Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen (UK) for her work on the habitat use of bottlenose dolphins. She subsequently studied the underwater sound levels and environmental impacts of offshore wind turbines on marine mammals. Dr. Bailey then received a National Research Council postdoctoral award to study migration pathways and hot spots of marine predators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the Census of Marine Life’s Tagging of Pacific Predators project. 

March 2021


In a new book, Delicious, Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez argue that deliciousness is an overlooked feature of the story of history of animal evolution and life in general and human evolution and life in particular. In this talk, Dunn shares stories from the book, stories about the pleasures of chimpanzees, the taste of mastodons, the mysteries of avocados and more. In doing so, Dunn will show how a consideration of flavor and deliciousness changes the way we think about and make sense of the natural world. Flavor and deliciousness shape the behavior of dogs and cats. They shape the use of tools by chimpanzees. Flavor and deliciousness may even, Dunn argues in his talk, account for some of the major transitions in human evolution.
Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez’s Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human is available for purchase online at the Princeton University Press website (https://press.princeton.edu/books). For those who may prefer to shop locally, copies are also available for purchase at Main Street Books in Frostburg, Maryland.
Rob Dunn is professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics at the University of Copenhagen. His books include Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human with Monica Sanchez and Never Home Alone. Twitter @RRobDunn.

October 2018- Katia Engelhardt, William O'Neill and Mary Kahl, "Restoring the American Chestnut: A Volunteer and Research Effort" 

April 2018- Bob Hilderbrand, "Stream Doctor" 

March 2018- Bill Hubick and the Maryland Biodiversity Project 

November 2017Lab after hours: what's in your water? 

October 2017 Brian Eyler, Deer Project Leader, MD Department of Natural Resources, Biology and management of white-tailed deer in Maryland

February 2017 Lynne CherryAn evening with environmental education, children's author, and filmmaker Lynne Cherry 

November 2016David Bolton, David Brezinski, and Richard Ortt, Maryland Geological Survey,  Learning about the ground and water beneath you: research updates on groundwater and geological formations of western Maryland

November 2016Ricky Arnold, Reflections on a journey to the International Space Station

May 2016 Richard AlleyPowering the future: good news in the greenhouse

April 2016:  Natalie Pekney, Air quality impacts from natural gas development as observed in western Maryland

March 2016: Kathy Fallon Lambert and Mark Castro, Air apparent: what you should know about mercury exposure 

February 2016:  The Seeds of Time 

December 2015A is for art: an upper Potomac report card

November 2015John Hoogland, Prairie dog companion: discover what these amazing creatures can teach us about ourselves

October 2015Don Boesch, In deep water: dive deep into the BP oil spill that rocked the Gulf