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 more information on upcoming 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

May 2021 Virtual Events

Thursday, May 13, 6:30pm, Zoom 

Join us for an engaging talk on the Chesapeake DolphinWatch project and learn more about dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay and how you can help with ongoing research. 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. To date, the project team has received over 1,000 sighting reports per year, which have greatly improved our understanding about this protected species in the Bay.

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. 

Registration for the event is required.  To register, use the "REGISTER NOW" link below. Once registered, attendees will receive Zoom access information via email.


Rebekah Taylor, Where the Ticks Are: Mapping the location of pathogen-carrying ticks in western Maryland
Thursday, May 20, 6:30pm, Zoom  
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, will discuss the ongoing research she and her students have been conducting on ticks and Lyme disease in western Maryland. 
Dr. Taylor and several undergraduate and graduate students at Frostburg State University are currently investigating the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, in Western Maryland.  Ticks are collected and tested for the presence of Borrelia by PCR analysis, and blood and tissue samples from wild mice are also tested by ELISA and PCR.  These data along with environmental information will allow a broad picture of the emergence of Lyme in the regional area. Dr. Taylor's ultimate goal for this data is an interactive web application that would allow hikers, bikers, and others planning to spend time outdoors locally to check the prevalence of ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi. 
Registration for this event is required.  Once registered, attendees will receive the Zoom information via email.   To register for this event, use the "REGISTER NOW" link below. 

March 2021 Virtual Event

Thursday, March 25, 6:30pm, Zoom 
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.

Delicious is available for purchase online at the Princeton University Press website ( Use code DUNN for 30% off Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez’s Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human when you order on the Princeton University Press website. Offer is good through April 30th.

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.

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 can be found here.