Appalachian Laboratory

Watershed Moments

Watershed Moments Community Learning Series

Learning lasts a lifetime.

As part of its commitment to public education, the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES-AL) offers free community presentations and events through its Watershed Moments Community Learning Series. 

Due to concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our friends in the community, Watershed Moments events will be held via Zoom for the foreseeable future.  Please see below for recordings of recent past virtual events. Contact Rhonda Schwinabart at with any event-related questions. 

We've created a short introduction video for those who are less familiar with Zoom to help demonstrate what to expect in a Watershed Moments event on Zoom.  Please click on the above right image to watch the video.  For more information and support for Zoom please visit the Zoom website at

Fall 2021 Schedule

Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird

Katie Fallon. Photo courtesy of
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
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.

UMCES Alumnus and NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold on International Space Station
Launched in 2015, the Watershed Moments series has included presentations by NASA Astronaut and UMCES alumnus Ricky Arnold, children’s author and filmmaker Lynne Cherry, glaciologist Richard Alley, and prairie dog expert and UMCES faculty member John Hoogland, among others.
More information on past Watershed Moments Community Learning Series Events, including links to event recordings, can be found here.