Monday, June 8, 2009

Natural History Classes at USDA

Looking to learn about a specific subject in nature in more depth? Take your nature study to the next level with natural history classes jointly run by USDA and the Audubon Naturalist Society. We have taken other classes in this series and they have been very good. All classes meet at Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. Three classes are being offered for this summer:

Insect Life
Wednesday evenings, July 1-Sept. 2
Learn to identify insects and discover their roles in the balance of nature. Study their histories, the ecologies of important insect forms, the necessity of insects in biotic communities and principal insect families of the Central Atlantic region. Field Trip Dates: July 18, August 8, and August 29, 2009.

Summer Wildflower Identification
Wednesday evenings, July 8-29
From milkweeds and morning glories to orchids and asters, summer presents a diverse array of wildflowers for study of plant family characteristics and ways to identify different species. Field trips to two scenic locations for summer wildflowers provide an opportunity for practice in the use of identification guides. Previous Spring Flower Identification class or similar course is recommended but not required. Field Trips: July 18 and July 25.

Tuesday evenings, June 30-July 28
Explore the genetic basis and investigate mechanisms of evolution, including founder effects, genetic drift, speciation, altruistic behavior, sexual selection, extinction and environmental factors. Review the intellectual background of Darwin's theories from Aristotle to Wallace and survey the literature of evolution from Darwin and Huxley to Mayr and E.O. Wilson. Topics are presented for the layperson and amateur naturalist, but a background in biology is helpful. Field Trip Date: July 18, 2009.