Conservation, sustainable living and the science of the Sonoran Desert will be the topics of free lectures and presentations this summer.
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Arizona State University, Center for Urban and Native Wildlife and the city of Scottsdale are presenting the series at 6 p.m. every Thursday - except July 3 - in Scottsdale Community College's Peridot Room, 9000 E. Chaparral Road.
Len Marcisz, MSC board chairman and steward, will present his popular talk on "Women of the McDowells."
Chad Johnson, ASU assistant professor of Integrated Natural Sciences, will present "The Behavior, Ecology & Evolution of Cannibalistic Spiders: 'Why Can't They Just Get Along?'" The presence shows the importance of spiders as a predator in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve ecosystem.
Susanne Neuer, ASU professor of biogeochemistry, will present "Algae Blooms in the Salt River" - as a major water resource for the Valley. Learn how the Salt River's health affects all of us.
Join Steven Semken, geoscience education researcher and ethnogeologist, as he presents "Geosciences and People's Sense of Place." Understand how our "sense of place" is grounded in the unique geology found in the Valley - including the preserve.
Phyllis Strupp, a life coach, will share a presentation titled "Our Brainy Desert Elders." This interactive presentation focuses on how people think about their surroundings.
No presentation in honor of Independence Day.
Conrad Storad, ASU director of the Office of Research Publications and nationally renowned author, will present a night of storytelling. He will share the stories of the preserve's inhabitants in "The Desert Night Shift: A Pack Rat Story" and "Life in the Desert: A Desert Tortoise Tale."
Meg White, Center for Native and Urban Wildlife, will provide an update on her research titled "Brown's Ranch Research Project: Invasive Plants."
Ann Kinzig, ASU assistant professor, School of Life Sciences, will present "The Study of Birds." Birds are the most significant organisms that bridge the urban/wild land interface.
Alice Demetra, MSC steward and chair of the conservancy's education department, will share a "taste of the desert." This ethnobotany presentation will allow participants to taste native foods, including foods made with mesquite flour, prickly pear fruit and agave syrup.
Attendees can bring a "brown-bag" dinner for themselves; beverages and cookies will be supplied. For more information or to contact the MSC office, call (480) 998-7971, Ext. 105, or visit www.mcdowellsonoran.org.