Science on Saturdays


Science on Saturdays is the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center’s lecture series highlighting current research on environmental topics. These one-hour, lecture-style programs provide exciting and interactive nature education from a local expert.

2023 Schedule

January 28, 10:00am: Bird-friendly Coffee with Jonathon Valente

Protecting biodiversity while sustaining agricultural production for a growing human population is one of the greatest challenges society faces. Navigating this clash of priorities is particularly difficult in tropical regions that tend to support a rich pool of native species but also high rates of human poverty. On January 28, Dr. Jonathon Valente, a federal scientist with the USGS and assistant professor at Auburn University, will discuss his research on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia, one of the most biodiverse corners of the planet, but also home to millions of coffee farmers and their families. In collaboration with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Dr. Valente is studying how tropical birds use forests and coffee farms in the region. Through this work, he is helping to improve the Smithsonian’s Bird-Friendly Coffee certification program which promotes biodiversity and economic stability by rewarding farmers for using wildlife-friendly farming practices. 

February 18, 10:00am: Bears with Dr. Todd Steury

The black bear is the Alabama State mammal. And yet, the most recent estimates suggest that we may only have as many as 300 of these animals in the state. In this talk, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology Todd Steury will describe the almost 10 years of research his lab at Auburn University has done to understand why we don’t have more individuals of the species in the state. The presentation will include information on the techniques they have used to study bears, their research findings so far, and their plans for future research. 

March 11, 8:00am-2:00pm: Bird Banding with the Banding Coalition

Description TBD.

June 10, 10:00am: Raptors with the Southeastern Raptor Center

Raptors are birds of prey with sharp beaks and powerful talons!  At this program, representatives from Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center will visit the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center to show you some of these incredible birds, up-close and in-person.  The program will include a variety of live raptors, most native to Alabama, and you learn all about their habitat, natural history, and the challenges facing these majestic creatures.  Children’s activities will be available.

The Southeastern Raptor Center rehabilitates hundreds of injured, ill, and orphaned raptors annually.  The Center also houses a number of raptors that are non-releasable including those that will be present at the program.

July 22, 10:00am: Urban Trees with Dr. Georgios Arseniou

Urban forests include all trees, shrubs, and greenspaces in public and private areas in cities. Therefore, we are all surrounded by urban trees which affect the quality of our daily lives. Urban trees provide very important benefits to human communities e.g., biodiversity, shading, air pollutant uptake, recreation, water purification, beautification of neighborhoods etc. In this class students will learn about the value of urban trees through fun hands-on activities. More specifically, students will learn how trees provide habitat for animals and other plants.

September 9, 10:00am: Hummingbird Banding with the Banding Coalition

Participants in this workshop will learn from experts from the Banding Coalition of the Americas, while they catch and band live hummingbirds.  You may even have the opportunity to hold one before it is released back into the wild!

Hummingbirds, one of the most beloved species on the planet, are migrators and critically affected by climate change. This research will help us learn more about what these beautiful creatures need and the impact of humans on their lives, hopefully ensuring their survival for future generations!

Come and learn more… and be a part of this important research.

Admission is $5 per person ; children under 3 are free. You may purchase tickets in advance or pay at the program. Cancelled in the event of rain.