Videos and Livestreams - Lunchtime Lecture Series Archive 2017 - 2018

The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs hosts a guest lecture series called the Lunchtime Discovery Series. Professionals from a wide range of environmental backgrounds come and give presentations about their work and offer an opportunity for attendees to learn about a variety of subjects during the lunch hour. Topics range from spider diversity in North Carolina to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to how to incorporate music in environmental education programming. 

The are several taped presentations on a wide variety of environmental topics that can be used in the classroom to supplement existing lessons on ecosystems, natural resources, and North Carolina history.

You can sign up for weekly email notifications about upcoming lectures! Contact an office staff member if you have trouble subscribing. 

Learn about the Lunchtime Discovery Series

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Dr. Lee Phillips, Director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office at UNC Greensboro, discusses the distribution, timing and origins of Carolina Bays and his research at Jones Lake State Park. This was student-driven research Dr. Phillips cooridnated while on faculty at UNC Pembroke, supported in part by NC Space Grant. Presented on December 19, 2018.

Watch the livestream

two Carolina bay lakes.

Todd Pusser
Todd Pusser Photography
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center
Wednesday, December 13th, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Watch the Livestream

A native of the North Carolina Sandhills, photographer Todd Pusser has traveled the globe in search of wildlife.  His photographs have earned awards in prestigious international wildlife photo competitions and are published in books, calendars, and magazines around the world.

Though Todd photographs everything from blue whales to penguins, he has a soft spot for the wildlife of North Carolina.  In his talk on December 12, he will discuss a wide range of topics from 20 years of exploring his home state’s biodiversity including his adventures photographing sharks off the NC coast, snorkeling with hellbenders in mountain streams, and photographing fox squirrels near his childhood home.  To see more of his work please visit

shark with divers in the background

Dr. Matt Bertone, North Carolina State University
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center
Wednesday, December 5th, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Watch the Livestream

What’s a workday like for a “pest detective?” Join Dr. Matt Bertone, entomologist with N.C. State University’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, as he shares some of the intriguing and entertaining questions and cases he’s fielded while helping farmers, gardeners and homeowners with their arthropod mysteries.

unidentified arthropod

Olivia Caretti, North Carolina State University
Wednesday, October 28, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources, Nature Research Center, SECU Daily Planet Theater, 1st Floor
Imagine diving head-first underwater in a North Carolina estuary…. You think it will be peaceful and quiet once you jump in, but instead are greeted by a cacophony of fish and invertebrate songs. The Marine Ecology and Conservation Lab at NC State University is listening to these songs to help decipher who, when, and why species are using underwater habitats. Please join us to find out: what can we learn by eavesdropping on these choruses?

Julia Jacobs, NC State University
Wednesday, November 14, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Environmental Literacy Center, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Research Center

There are over 80 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises around the world and with those species come many scientific questions. Photo identification is one way that these animals are studied in a non-invasive manner. When these marine mammals come up to breath we take photos of their dorsal fins and flukes to identify them. That information can then be used to answer questions about population counts, habitat associations, group associations, and much more.


Ayn Corrigan, Urban Agriculture Education Manager
Wednesday, November 7, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Environmental Literacy Center, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Research Center
Camden Street Learning garden is more than just a green space. This garden was started to serve the community of Southeast Raleigh, and it's grown a cornucopia of programs to accomplish that service.
children harvesting greens

Dr. April Blakeslee, Assistant Professor, Biology Department, East Carolina University
Wednesday, October 31, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center
Parasites are integral member of communities; however, because they are small and often hidden, they can be forgotten in community studies. Yet parasites can have profound effects on their hosts and even the ecosystem at large. Here, I demonstrate some of the fascinating influences that parasites have on hosts—including the creation of zombies!
Photo: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
crab with infected with zombie parasite

RaeLana V. Poteat, Curator of Political and Social History, NC Museum of History
Wednesday, October 24, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center
Get up close and personal with some of the intriguing historical photographs featured in this exhibit, which encourages visitors to look closely at old photos and ask questions about them. Why does this woman have a chicken on her head? What would cause a whole town to want to have their picture taken with a tree stump? Join us to find answers, or ask your own questions.
beached whale on north carolina coast historical photo

Colleen Bockhahn, Assistant Park Manager, Lake Crabtree County Park 
Wednesday, October 17, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Environmental Literacy Center, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Research Center

Owls are known as symbols of wisdom and magic. Gain some wisdom about our local owl species, and discover the magic behind their unique adaptations and natural histories. Did you know that great-horned owls prey on other owls? Which North Carolina owl species is declining in northern states? Get the answers to these questions and many more!

three species of north carolina owls


Rhonda Sherman, Extension Specialist, Horticultural Science Department, North Carolina State University
Wednesday, October 10, 2018, @ 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Archdale Building (512 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, 27604), Room 1109 North and Outdoors

Have a compost bin that not's doing what you expected? Want to start composting but don't know how? Learn how to successfully compost food scraps, yard debris, and 100 more items. Rhonda Sherman’s areas of expertise are vermicomposting, composting, recycling and waste reduction. She gives about 40 presentations annually and has authored over 65 publications on these topics. Considered a leading authority on vermicomposting, Rhonda has received inquiries from people in 110 countries and taught composting and vermicomposting in Guyana, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, and throughout the United States.

compost bin with shovel

Alvin Braswell, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Wednesday, October 3, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center
Join us Wednesday as herpetologist and naturalist Alvin Braswell takes us on a journey of the critters who inhabit the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost nation in the Carribean. We will explore the geography and geologic and natural history of Trinidad and Tobago while learning about the complexities of the current faunal composition of the islands.


tropical tree frog


Kat Nigro, Head of Marketing and Engagement, CompostNow
Wednesday, August 29, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Environmental Literacy Center, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Research Center
Soil is one of our most precious and important resources on Earth. But our soils are depleted of nutrients. Learn how composting starves landfills
and builds healthy soil with local collection service, CompostNow!
kate nigro

Not at All That Far-Fetched - The Amazing Dogs of Allison Woods

Paige Jackson, Education Director, Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center
Wednesday, August 22, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Learn more about Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center and see a demonstration of one of their amazing dogs in action! The “Turtle Dogs” of Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center work with instructors to educate students about North Carolina’s official state reptile, the Eastern Box Turtle. These dogs are specifically bred and trained to aid in research and field studies of turtles (endangered and threatened species) and to retrieve them, bringing them to their handlers unharmed for documentation. The dogs are used in both research and field trip programs and are recognized nationwide by conservationists and preservationists alike. Seen on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101, PBS, UNC-TV and numerous magazines including an upcoming issue of Field and Family, they are a one of a kind program that students and adults love!

dog holding box turtle

The Milky Way - Our Home Galaxy
August 8, 2018, SECU Daily Planet Theater, NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Dr. Patrick Treuthardt briefly discusses the history of how we "discovered" the Milky Way and our place in it. He explores our galaxy's structure, supermassive black hole, dark matter halo, origin, and eventual fate.

milky way galaxy


A Garden for Life, Patrick McMillan, South Carolina Botanical GardenA Garden of Life poster with patrick mcmillan flowers and butterflies
NC Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center, July 31, 2018

As director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, Emmy-Award-winning television host and naturalist Patrick McMillan sees the role of public garden as a place to encourage people to maintain their own beautiful spaces in a sustainable way. Patrick shares how the modern garden is being transformed into habitats for pollinators and wildlife, and provides lessons on increasing the diversity of life in your own garden.

Environmental Justice - Dismantling Inequity and Enabling Sustainability Where We Live, Work and Play

Bethany B. Cutts, North Carolina State University
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center
Wednesday, July 25, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
How can environmental education become a tool forenvironmental justice? Dr. Bethany Cutts from NC State University leads an interactive seminar in which participants (1) examine the many ways thatenvironmental injustices have been created in the US, (2) get a whirlwind introduction to social movement and policy responses to environmental justice that have emerged over the last thirty years, and (3) think about how to implement models of environmental education well-suited to reducingenvironmental disparities affecting the health and well-being of many minority and low-income communities.

Hop, Slither and Crawl into Action! The Role of Citizen Science in Conservation of Reptiles and Amphibians
July 18, 2018. SECU Daily Planet Theater
Jeff Hall, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biologist, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Citizen science projects have taken the opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of social media and have become important tools for collecting species data. Although citizen science is more common within the birding community with projects such as the Christmas Bird Count and e-Bird, fewer projects have focused on amphibians and reptiles. Recently, however, there has been an increase in herp-related citizen science projects, such as HerpMapper, iNaturalist, and the Terrapin Tally. Join us Wednesday at noon as we discuss these projects and explore the data obtained through them. We will also examine the value of some longer-running citizen science projects such as the Carolina Herp Atlas and the North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program.

Sea Turtles Dig the Dark - The Use of Drones to Monitor Light Pollution on NC Beaches

Anna Windle, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
Wednesday, July 11, 2018, @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center

Anna Windle explains what her research has discovered about light pollution and the nesting behavior of sea turtles! Artificial nighttime light has detrimental impacts on nesting sea turtles and sea turtle hatchlings. Nesting sea turtles appear to avoid brightly lit beaches and can turn back to sea prematurely when exposed to artificial light. Sea turtle hatchlings often travel towards bright artificial lights instead of reaching the ocean. Light pollution has been quantified using a variety of methods; however, it has proven challenging to make accurate measurements of ambient light at fine scales and on smaller nesting beaches. Using an autonomous terrestrial rover, high-resolution light measurements were collected from a sea turtle’s perspective and analysis showed significantly different nesting densities in different areas of the beaches from varying light levels.

Afrofuturism, Black Panther and Environmental Science

The movement and aesthetic of Afrofuturism has been defined by many and operates around science-fictional identity and visioning. We will journey into some of its realms in music, film, literature, visual art and environmental science. Starting with film and the now popular cinematic "Black Panther," this informative lecture will leave you in awe. Darrell Stover, North Carolina State University.

North Carolina's Estuarine Sharks: Habitat and Movement Ecology of Top Predators in the Sounds
Lunchtime Discovery Series, March 21, 2018

Sharks are often thought of as creatures of the open ocean or the coast, but many species regularly visit or spend a large portion of their lives in estuaries. Hosting the second-largest estuarine ecosystem in the continental United States, North Carolina provides ample habitat for a variety of shark species. However, dependence on estuarine habitats also puts sharks in close proximity to humans. Dr. Charles Bangley introduces us to the shark community of North Carolina’s sounds and shows how scientific surveys and tagging technology might help us coexist with these important predators.

NC Aquariums: Collective Action for Sea Turtle Conservation
March 14, 2018

Watch the Livestream 

The North Carolina Aquariums, with support from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have a long history of sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation, release and conservation education. Hap Fatzinger, Director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores highlights how sea turtles are being saved from extinction through collaborations with their conservation partners.

Dr. Matthew Booker, NCSU
January 24, 2018
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, Nature Research Center, 1st Floor
Wednesday, January 24 @ Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Matthew Booker uses the intertwined histories of humans and shellfish to explore changes in American eating habits, urbanization, and a shift towards industrial agriculture that’s been going on since the mid-19th century. Most people encountered modern life through their food and drink, both of which became the focus of consumer fear and governmental regulation. This talk will use a forgotten urban staple, oysters, to explore the risks of industrialization and the profound consequences of environmental protections in the early twentieth century.

Watch the Livestream 

Chris Fischer, OCEARCH
Science Cafe, January 26, 2017
SECU Daily Planet Theater, N.C. Museum of Natural Resources’ Nature Research Center
What kind of sharks live along the North Carolina coast?  Where and when do these sharks travel near our state? Join us to learn about the research being conducted by OCEARCH, an organization generating critical scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks.  Our speaker will introduce us to the Global Shark Tracker, which allows the public to track and learn about sharks in near real time for free. This science cafe is brought to us through a partnership with the Department of Environmental Quality and the NC Aquariums.

Meanders Through Time - Rivers in Art and History
Steve Bevington, Division of Land and Water Stewardship, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Amazon River? The Deep? The Eno or the Colorado or the Yangtze? Perhaps the Yukon, Limpopo or the Seine? Which rivers have wound their way into your heart? Steve Bevington will explore rivers as they meander out of ancient hills through our shared experiences and into the sea.

Power Point Presentation