Science & Nature


Explore the conservation movement, the effects of unregulated hunting and exploitation of wildlife populations, ornithological artists of the 1600-2000s, and conservation of our local resources with expert lecturers. Topics include the Clean Water Act and Florida compliance, Tampa Bay restoration, environment of Tampa Bay, ornithological art, and the Tampa Port Authority. Lectures will be followed by exhibit discussions relating to the specific knowledge of our speakers. Audubon experts will offer additional insights.
The Florida Aquarium is not just about fish! It is actually a wonderful place to learn some basic birding skills and get some practice identifying different herons, egrets, ducks, and birds of prey. We will spend time in and around the Aquarium, and will also take a boat ride out into Tampa Bay.
What is DNA? How is DNA-based life first created? Could there be DNA-based life elsewhere in the universe? Why does life evolve? What does DNA have to do with spirituality? This course explains DNA's place in "Big History" and will help prepare you to think about how DNA has made you become who you are. The 40-page illustrated text, Big History's DNA forms the basis of this course and will be provided.
Aging in place, at home, is how most of us would prefer to live out our days. Learn about emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, care robots, voice-activated devices and telemedicine, which hold great promise to improve the aging experience and to keep you in your home for as long as possible. Learn how to discern quality service and value in this marketplace. Explore the tools and insights you need to make informed choices for you, your caregivers and your loved ones.
What does it take for the Florida Aquarium's animals to thrive? They need more than food, water and space. It takes close attention to their eating habits and behavior, as well as some ingenuity, to devise improvements in animal habitats and care. Explore animal care and enrichment through varied training methods and experience a hands-on animal project.
Many biological treasures wash up on Florida's beaches. Learn how to identify and classify common seashells, egg cases and exoskeletons in this hands-on, classroom-based course. Expand your understanding of the diversity of life on and beneath our sands.
Environmental change is literally at your fingertips! Use simple "apps" to create a better world through recycling, sustainable seafood, citizen science, and more. This hands-on class will show you which apps can help you make simple changes that will have a big impact. Venture outdoors to collect data and learn how you can contribute to scientific data with an app-driven citizen science project. Bring your own mobile device or borrow one of ours!
An alien and until recently, untouched world exists in the depths of our oceans - a world almost impossible to explore due to lack of light and extreme pressure. Its inhabitants have adapted in extraordinary ways throughout Earth's history. Investigate the fossil history of some of these extinct and current creatures through hands-on activities and discussion. Obtain a glimpse of how our oceans have changed over time.
Forget theme parks and golf courses! Appreciate Florida's natural wonders. Learn where to go to explore our state's wetlands, uplands and coastal habitats from an avid outdoor enthusiast and experienced Florida Master Naturalist. Identify reptiles, insects, butterflies, birds and common mammals in this classroom-based course that focuses on Florida's diverse ecosystems and conservation.
How will rapidly-expanding knowledge of the human genome impact the future of our species, our individual lives, our health? Hear about the emerging fields of genomic science, biomedical engineering, synthetic biology and personalized medicine. We'll examine how big data makes this work possible as we discover the potential and the challenges of this new science.
Learn the best tools and resources needed to help identify birds and what field marks to look for when identifying birds. We will spend three classes in the field practicing our newly learned skills and using those tools. Finally, we will spend our last class at one of the top birding spots in Florida--Fort De Soto--looking for seasonal migrants. We also will learn about "citizen science" projects and conservation issues regarding Florida birds. Note: class meetings are at varied locations and may require long walks. Field trips may be an hour's drive: expect class meetings will run into the afternoons.
Discover what scientists are learning about our incredibly beautiful but potentially deadly universe. Visit the strange worlds of relativity and quantum mechanics. Find out what you did not learn at school about dinosaurs. Be astonished with what makes our bodies human. Take a peek at archaeological discoveries on earth under the sea, from outer space and explore weird science to decide if UFOs and Bigfoot are delusions or real.
Embark on a cosmic journey as we explore our amazing universe, starting in our own Solar System then traveling deeper into space. Enjoy stunning cosmic images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as we travel 14 billion years into the past to learn about the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe. Along the way, we will encounter fascinating objects such as supernovas, neutron stars and black holes. Our journey ends with the most mysterious stuff in the universe: dark matter and dark energy.
Learn about the three types of DNA testing used in genetic genealogy research and how the results can be used to determine recent family lineage and historic migrations of the human race. We'll discuss case studies and an overview of the National Geographic Genographic Project and world population haplogroups. You are encouraged to bring your DNA test results sheets to class, including haplogroup assignments and marker values.
HIV, Herpes, Influenza, Ebola, West Nile Fever, Dengue and infections endemic to Florida - all are viruses. What is it about their structure that leads us to label them this way? How do they interact with the body to cause disease? How does the human body combat viruses? How can we use what we have learned to get viruses to work for us? Enlarge your understanding and dispel a few myths.