Science, Society and Sustainability: Can We Make the Pieces Fit?

Knowing how parts of nature interact in time and space is critical to our understanding of sustainability. Ecologist Tim Ehlinger looks at our interaction with the land from our first arrival on the continent: trapping, logging, farming, industrialization, urbanization, and suburbia. Through demonstrations he traces human behavior and how it has, and continues, to modify our environment. He builds a “beaver dam” and has “rain” fall on a farmyard and an urban development to show the enormous difference in rainwater retention. Meeting our needs without jeopardizing those of future generations is the theme throughout this look at sustainability.

Mussel Beach: The Crushing Weight of Invasive Species

Carmen Aguilar and Russell Cuhel — Quagga mussels seem like invaders from another planet. Are they going to crush the historic wrecked ships on the bottom of Lake Michigan with all their bodies and shells? How did they wipe out the zebra mussels in such a short time? Are they stronger? Learn about the most ravaging invader Lake Michigan has ever seen!

Urban Air: What’s in There?

The “mystery” of urban air is stripped away in this lively video. With clarity and delight, chemistry professor Thomas Holme looks at each of the components of air — nitrogen, oxygen, water, argon, and “other” — and demonstrates how, and under what conditions, they combine with volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) to form pollution.

Alien Invaders: Exotic Species in the Food Web of the Great Lakes

Biologist Arthur Brooks in this lecture highlights the interplay of human activity and its impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem over a 200-year period. Utilizing diagrams and high-speed photography, Professor Brooks also discusses the food web of the Great Lakes and gives numerous examples of how exotic species alter the balance within an ecosystem.

Water, Water Everywhere, And Sometimes Ice & Steam

Arthur Brooks engages the audience in a skillful and fast-paced mix of discussion and demonstration. He begins with a detailed examination of the chemistry of water, using charts, diagrams, and styrofoam models. His demonstrations include a miniature recreation of the Hindenburg explosion, how salt acts on roads in the winter, and many more.