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Lecture series begins

RADFORD — During the warm summer nights of June, July and August, the great outdoors can be the perfect natural setting for learning experiences.
And with the convenience of an outdoor classroom such as the one located at Wildwood Park in Radford, what better place to host an outdoor lecture series on local natural history?
That’s what Radford High School biology teacher Frank Taylor was thinking three years ago when he began coordinating the summer lecture series at Wildwood Park’s “Outdoor Classroom,” with the sponsorship of Radford City Schools, the Radford Recreation Department and Pathways for Radford, which is a citizens’ group working to promote bikeways, walkways and trails for Radford and the New River Valley.
The classroom, which became a reality due to funding from Pathways for Radford and people within the Radford community, is primarily used by students at Radford High School.
However, Taylor said, “I wanted it to be more than just a place to take students during class time. I wanted it to be a place for community learning.”
After attending and presenting for years at the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally, Taylor said he “had a dream that the outdoor classroom could become a center for teaching our community about our local natural history.”
Pooling Taylor’s network of biologists and ecologists that he has developed over the past 23 years as a biology teacher at RHS and taking suggestions from Pathways and informal surveys, a wide variety of speakers were chosen to give presentations on an array of topics for the lecture series.
The presenters are encouraged to incorporate multi-media and/or hands-on presentations when ever possible. Taylor said for example, last year, bat nets were set up for a presentation on bats, and wild owls have answered and flown in for the “Songs of the Night” presentation.
As for the audiences at these presentations, Taylor said it is “not made up of scientists but of people and families from all walks of life who are interested in learning about the world around them.”
He added, “our goal is to make ‘family-friendly presentations.’ The outdoor setting is particularly inviting to families as small children can easily get up and move around. We often have dogs in the audience as well.”
Taylor said that the lectures are generally intended to last about 50 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for questions from the group, and then the presenter generally stays to answer individual questions and interact with attendees on a one-on-one basis.
This summer’s lecture series schedule is as follows:
•Tonight, June 12, at 8:30 p.m.: “Songs of the Night”; presenter, Jerry Via from Virginia Tech; Chirps, croaks, hoots and shrieks. Find out what is making those extraordinary sounds of our warm summer nights with this popular multi-media presentation.
•June 26 at 7:30 p.m.: “Your Bike and You! Where to Ride and Keep it Safe!”; presenter Chris Colby, local road and mountain bike enthusiast. Learn how to keep your bike safe with basic inspection, maintenance and repairs (including how to change a flat); gain valuable riding and safety tips and tricks and learn where to ride on or off the trail.
•July 10 at 7:30 p.m.: “The Underground Realm”; presenter Will Orndorff from the Virginia Natural Heritage Program/Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Come learn how caves are formed in limestone landscapes, how water is stored in and travels through them and how they serve as homes for many rare animal species.
•July 24 at 7:30 p.m.: ”Wildwood Flowers”; presenter Gary Cote, biologist at Radford University. A wealth of wildflowers give Wildwood beauty and charm, but why do the flowers grow only in certain places and bloom only in certain times? Find answers to these questions as we discover the common and showy and even the shy hidden treasures of Wildwood Park.
•Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.: “A Walk in the Woods”; presenter John Peterson, dendrologist within the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech. A hands-on look at some of Wildwood’s leafy inhabitants. Learn dendrology basics so you can use simple keys to identify trees in Wildwood. Take your key home and be empowered to discover what is growing in your yard.

•Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.: ”A River, Its Fish and People: Tales of Virginia’s New River”; presenter John Copeland, fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The New River, it’s fish and the people who enjoy this wonderful natural resource. Learn about the natural history and biology of New River fish and how this knowledge might help you hook your next big catch. Includes opportunity to see live fish.
For more information, contact Frank Taylor at ftaylor@rcps.org or (540) 731-9589, or visit http://www.radfordpl.org/wildwood/index.html.

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Lecture series begins

RADFORD — During the warm summer nights of June, July and August, the great outdoors can be the perfect natural setting for learning experiences.
And with the convenience of an outdoor classroom such as the one located at Wildwood Park in Radford, what better place to host an outdoor lecture series on local natural history?
That’s what Radford High School biology teacher Frank Taylor was thinking three years ago when he began coordinating the summer lecture series at Wildwood Park’s “Outdoor Classroom,” with the sponsorship of Radford City Schools, the Radford Recreation Department and Pathways for Radford, which is a citizens’ group working to promote bikeways, walkways and trails for Radford and the New River Valley.
The classroom, which became a reality due to funding from Pathways for Radford and people within the Radford community, is primarily used by students at Radford High School.
However, Taylor said, “I wanted it to be more than just a place to take students during class time. I wanted it to be a place for community learning.”
After attending and presenting for years at the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally, Taylor said he “had a dream that the outdoor classroom could become a center for teaching our community about our local natural history.”
Pooling Taylor’s network of biologists and ecologists that he has developed over the past 23 years as a biology teacher at RHS and taking suggestions from Pathways and informal surveys, a wide variety of speakers were chosen to give presentations on an array of topics for the lecture series.
The presenters are encouraged to incorporate multi-media and/or hands-on presentations when ever possible. Taylor said for example, last year, bat nets were set up for a presentation on bats, and wild owls have answered and flown in for the “Songs of the Night” presentation.
As for the audiences at these presentations, Taylor said it is “not made up of scientists but of people and families from all walks of life who are interested in learning about the world around them.”
He added, “our goal is to make ‘family-friendly presentations.’ The outdoor setting is particularly inviting to families as small children can easily get up and move around. We often have dogs in the audience as well.”
Taylor said that the lectures are generally intended to last about 50 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for questions from the group, and then the presenter generally stays to answer individual questions and interact with attendees on a one-on-one basis.
This summer’s lecture series schedule is as follows:
•Tonight, June 12, at 8:30 p.m.: “Songs of the Night”; presenter, Jerry Via from Virginia Tech; Chirps, croaks, hoots and shrieks. Find out what is making those extraordinary sounds of our warm summer nights with this popular multi-media presentation.
•June 26 at 7:30 p.m.: “Your Bike and You! Where to Ride and Keep it Safe!”; presenter Chris Colby, local road and mountain bike enthusiast. Learn how to keep your bike safe with basic inspection, maintenance and repairs (including how to change a flat); gain valuable riding and safety tips and tricks and learn where to ride on or off the trail.
•July 10 at 7:30 p.m.: “The Underground Realm”; presenter Will Orndorff from the Virginia Natural Heritage Program/Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Come learn how caves are formed in limestone landscapes, how water is stored in and travels through them and how they serve as homes for many rare animal species.
•July 24 at 7:30 p.m.: ”Wildwood Flowers”; presenter Gary Cote, biologist at Radford University. A wealth of wildflowers give Wildwood beauty and charm, but why do the flowers grow only in certain places and bloom only in certain times? Find answers to these questions as we discover the common and showy and even the shy hidden treasures of Wildwood Park.
•Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.: “A Walk in the Woods”; presenter John Peterson, dendrologist within the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech. A hands-on look at some of Wildwood’s leafy inhabitants. Learn dendrology basics so you can use simple keys to identify trees in Wildwood. Take your key home and be empowered to discover what is growing in your yard.

•Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.: ”A River, Its Fish and People: Tales of Virginia’s New River”; presenter John Copeland, fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The New River, it’s fish and the people who enjoy this wonderful natural resource. Learn about the natural history and biology of New River fish and how this knowledge might help you hook your next big catch. Includes opportunity to see live fish.
For more information, contact Frank Taylor at ftaylor@rcps.org or (540) 731-9589, or visit http://www.radfordpl.org/wildwood/index.html.

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