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Preview/Review: University events and lectures

A preview and review of U events and lectures, May 7-21

Compiled by Adam Overland

Spring Raptor Release, bald eagle--165
A bald eagle at the Spring Raptor Release.

May 4, 2010

Spring Raptor Release, College of Veterinary Medicine's Raptor Center, Hyland Lake Park Reserve.
For the first time in my two short years at the U, I finally made it to the yearly spring raptor release, a program of the College of Veterinary Medicine's Raptor Center. I joined thousands of people wandering the grounds of beautiful Hyland Lake Park Reserve, snapping photographs of birds of prey, including owls, eagles, falcons, and hawks. You can see a collection of photographs online at the U's Facebook page.

The center released four raptors this year, but many more permanently injured birds in the care of the Raptor Center were perched throughout the grounds for educational purposes. I learned much from the experience, including the tidbit of trivia that Ben Franklin disapproved of choosing the bald eagle as America's national symbol because he considered them scoundrels and thieves (due to their tendency to steal fish from other birds that had done the hunting).

To the delight of many photographers, a great horned owl turned its head 270 degrees to stare back at all the gawkers. An owl's eyes comprise 5% of its bodyweight—a necessity that makes sense when you consider they cannot move their eyes at all. Unlike the human eye, the owl's eyes are tubular, not spherical, and extend far back in the skull. That spectacular binocular vision allows the owl to pinpoint prey and see in low light. Its acute sense of hearing works in tandem to make the owl a spectacular predator.

The fastest animal on earth was also present at the release. If you're thinking a cheetah was on the prowl, that wasn't the case—that creature is the fastest land-animal on earth. The peregrine falcon dives at speeds far in excess of the cheetah's 70 miles per hour, often to the detriment of slower birds that become a meal for the 200 mph peregrine. The peregrine became an endangered species beginning in the 1970s due to the use of pesticides, especially DDT. For more information, see the photographs online. A short piece about the event is also available online at Minnesota Daily.
--Review by Adam Overland

The Big Build, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, May 3-22. From Scotland to France, Japan to Australia, and now at the Arboretum! With willow as his medium and the Arboretum as his inspiration, artist Patrick Dougherty twists and weaves sticks and tree saplings, assisted by staff and volunteers, into an immense sculpture. Dougherty is an internationally renowned artist who weaves tree saplings and branches to create immense environmental sculptures. He uses the plants to form the 'line' of his work, in massive shapes that often suggest childhood tree houses, whimsical nests, or lairs. He has built more than 175 works worldwide over the past 20 years. Watch how the big build takes shape on the center island outside the Oswald Visitor Center, or track its progress via blog and webcam.

Annual Spring Plant Sale, U of M Horticulture Club, May 6-9, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. South of Larpenteur on Gortner Avenue, St. Paul. It happens every year and the plants go fast. This year the sale will feature a wide variety of perennials, annuals, and heirloom tomatoes, but no Amorphophallus titanium. All funds raised go to support the club's educational activities.

First Fridays: Virtue & Vice in the Stacks - Humility and Pride. May 7, noon-1 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library. Does the TV camera distract us from the humility of education? Does publicity and self-promotion encourage the sin of pride? Using multiple collections from the University Archives, this First Fridays presentation focuses on the introduction of film to communicate complicated ideas and promote groundbreaking research. A specific examination of an experimental surgery and the clash of new media with traditional scholarly publishing to transmit the information serve as examples.

Also in the stacks
: In the midst of dislocation and heartache over leaving one's homeland, many immigrants and their children gained a sense of pride in their skills at navigating American society, business and politics. IHRC Program Director Haven Hawley analyzes how pride in "making it" --in finding acceptance, success, or recognition in an adopted land--served a vital role in how immigrants created a community identity as loyal American and longing emigrant.

Red-Headed Woodpecker Day at Cedar Creek, May 8, 1-3 p.m., Lindeman Research and Discovery Center. Usually, Preview/Review highlights events on the Twin Cities campus only, but we're making an exception for this bird. Spend an afternoon observing red-headed woodpeckers at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Members of the Redhead Recovery Organization will guide you on a walk into Cedar Creek’s interior to view the birds as they feed and prepare for nesting. Visitors will hear the different calls used by these birds, learn to understand the special habitat they require, see their brilliant colors, and learn to identify them by sight and sound. The event is suitable for families, special interest groups, and the general public. Expect an easy walk on sand paths to the sites.

The Mississippi River: Icon and Opportunity, May 11, noon-1:30 p.m. (lunch provided), 101 University International Center. As part of the Office of International Programs' Tuesday Global Spotlight series, Pat Nunnally, coordinator of the River Life program at the Institute on the Environment, will discuss how the Mississippi River might help cities across the world understand how they can live with their rivers more sustainably. Nunnally will chart a new course, one different from centuries of single-function use that meets some human needs, for only some segments of the population, while ignoring the needs of others and the ecosystem as a whole. The U's River Life program addresses the river as both icon and opportunity, celebrating what makes the Mississippi “mighty” while using digital platforms and student engagement to use the river as a model for sustainable urban practices. Nunnally has worked on planning, communication, and management projects related to the Mississippi River for 15 years.

The Annual Ruth Stricker Mind-Body Lecture with Jacqueline Olds: "Exploring the Importance of Human Connections to our Health and Wellness." May 12, 3:30-5 p.m., Mayo Memorial Auditorium. Social isolation is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States. While statistics differ, clinicians have noted that the number of people who don’t regularly speak of significant matters with anyone (in the last 6 months) has increased to as much as 25% of the population. It's an epidemic of alarming proportion, with crucial effects to both physical and emotional health. Join author and psychiatrist Jacqueline Olds as she explores social isolation and the importance of human connections to our health and wellness. Olds will discuss a prescription for forming community and the importance of intergenerational discussion to restore perspective and achieve balance in health and wellness. Tickets: $20.

"For Richer Not Poorer: Couples and Money" with nationally recognized financial consultant, Ruth Hayden. May 20, noon-1 p.m. Mayo Memorial Auditorium
. It is a sad reality that decisions about money often lead couples to frustrations, resentments, and conflicts that end with: "You spend too much! Well, you make too little!" Ruth Hayden will present detailed steps to building intimacy and reaching dreams by building a workable money life together. Hayden is a nationally recognized financial consultant, educator, and author based in St. Paul. She has taught classes that challenge women to take charge of their financial future for more than 25 years. Her book, How To Turn Your Money Life Around: The Money Book for Women, was nominated for the 1993 Minnesota Book Award. Hayden also teaches a popular series of classes called "Couples and Money" which is the basis for her book, For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples. Free and open to the public, but be sure to RSVP.

8th Annual Beer Testing, May 21, Campus Club Terrace. Join family, friends, and colleagues for the Campus Club's annual end of semester beer testing. This year's  featured speaker is Jeff Williamson from Flat Earth Brewing. Those attending the heady event will be sampling beers from Flat Earth, Summit, Surly, Brau Brothers, Schell's, and Lift Bridge. $15 gets you six samples plus The Best of the Wurst (brats), veggies, and U of M cheeses. The renowned "Daddy Squeeze" will provide musical delights. Reservations are required. Call 612-626-7788.

Summer Hunker: Faculty Writing Jumpstart (a Center for Writing event). June 7-11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 204 Walter Library. Summer brings sunshine, mosquitoes, and writing ambitions. But summer can pass quickly, leaving ambitions to write unfulfilled. The Center for Writing invites faculty and P&A instructors to the second annual "Summer Hunker: Faculty Writing Jumpstart." Join a small, supportive community of fellow writers for a week of focused writing attention that aims to give time, space, and support to get summer writing projects started with gusto. Whether a grant proposal, a journal article to revise, or a manuscript to complete, the Summer Hunker can help. Each day will include dedicated independent writing time, brief structured writing activities, and lunch discussions. Breakfast and lunch provided daily.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Preview submissions should be no more than 450 words, reviews 150 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.