Speaker Series

We are pleased to announce the Summer 2018 Thursday Expert Speaker Series Schedule. Admission to these presentations is $5.00 per adult. Youth 18 and under attend for free. Presentations begin at 2:00 pm in the Community School Library (entrance through the Natural History Exhibit door).

Thursday, July 19th –  Eileen Van der Flier-Keller, “Pebbles, Rocks, and the Stories they Tell”

hornby-island-tide-pools-sharon-colling.jpgIn this interactive presentation, Eileen will identify pebbles and rocks and explore the stories they tell.

Eileen is a geologist and Associate Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Victoria. She is passionate about rocks, beaches and teaching students and teachers about the stories rocks tell us about our Earth’s history. She is the author of the South Vancouver Island Earth Science Fun Guide and lives in Victoria with her family, Peter, Connor and Alison. Eileen was the 2009 recipient of the Geological Association of Canada Neale Medal.


Thursday, August 9th – Jessica Shultz, “Counting on every species: An introduction to marine biodiversity and why it matters” 

nuchatlitz201509040709-1024x512.jpgWe value biodiversity for its beauty, ecological importance and the benefits it provides to people.  British Columbia is home to some of the most productive and diverse waters on the planet.  In this talk, you’ll learn about local marine biodiversity, and how biodiversity is related to the way ecosystems work.  We’ll talk about specific examples from underwater habitats, such as sea star food webs, kelp forests and glass sponge reefs.  In addition, you’ll learn some basic techniques to help you identify the fish and invertebrates you see in tide pools, underwater and on the beach.

Jessica Schultz is the Manager of the Howe Sound Research and Conservation program at the Vancouver Aquarium (Ocean Wise), where she and her team investigate coastal ecology, marine biodiversity and climate change.  Jessica is a professional diver-turned-marine ecologist, as well as a PhD student at the University of Guelph.  Her current research explores how DNA-based technology can be used to measure biodiversity and improve conservation management.

Thursday, August 16th – Adam Taylor, “Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery”

bmava-2011-4058-sqLearn about the natural history of the Vancouver Island Marmot and efforts to recover this critically endangered species from the brink of extinction. Once, this marmot numbered fewer than 30 individuals in the wild. Today, the population has recovered to over 150 animals, but challenges remain before this Canadian endemic has secured its place in the wild.

Adam Taylor is the Executive Director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation. He has worked in conservation for over 20 years, including work with other endangered species, such as Western Painted Turtles, Little Brown Bats, and Blue-grey Taildropper slugs.


Thursday, August 23rd – Stephanie Archer, “Canada’s Glass Sponge Reefs”

cascade-logo.jpgGlass sponge reefs are an ecosystem unique to the coastal and shelf waters of the US and Canada’s Pacific coast. Since the late 1980’s, when the first glass sponge reefs were discovered in Hecate Strait, researchers at Natural Resources Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have discovered and surveyed many reefs along BC’s coast- including one just East of Hornby Island. I will introduce you to this amazing ecosystem, the sponges that build the reefs, the animals that call the reefs home, and our research aimed at conserving this ecosystem for future generations.

Stephanie has a PhD from North Carolina State University where she worked in the Layman Lab studying how sponges alter community composition and ecosystem function in tropical and subtropical nearshore marine ecosystems. She is now an NSERC Visiting Fellow with Fisheries and Oceans Canada where she studies species interactions and ecosystem function of Glass Sponge Reefs.