IAS Speaker Series at Saylorville Schedule

All programs are Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Theater.
See schedule below.

Public invited free of charge.
Families welcome!

An important part of the Iowa Academy of Science mission is to promote the public understanding of science. The IAS Speaker Series at Saylorville features science based programs for children and adults.  They are presented by members of the Iowa Academy of Science who donate their time and expertise to advance the public understanding of science. Programs may be entertaining, others may address topics of public interest, and some be controversial. It is our goal to foster science based information promoting science education, encourages science based discussion about societal issues, and informs the public about the benefits of science to society. 


Saturday, July 28, 2018
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Saylorville Visitor Center Theater

The Geology of Central Iowa

with Michael Blair
Audience: Adults and Children


Program Description


Not many people know that one billion years ago Des Moines was in an earthquake zone or that 300 million years ago this area was prime for beach front property. Or that as recently as 12,000 you could cool your fine wine drink with glacial ice. Spend an hour learning about Central Iowa's interesting past and you will never look at Four Mile Creek, Capitol Hill or the east side same way. Feel free to bring in fossils or rocks to be identified.

About Michael Blair

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Michael Blair taught for 39 years in various educational institutions including the Des Moines Public Schools; Escuaela Mazapan, La Ceiba, Honduras; and Levaula College, Faleula, Western Samoa. He has presented at national, state and local levels on various subjects and has been the recipient of many awards, including RadioShack Teacher of the Year, 2001. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B. S. in geology and a received his M. S. from Iowa State University in earth science. His Master's thesis was on the geology of the Des Moines area. He was also instrumental in advising the Army Corps of Engineers in developing the geological display at the Saylorville Visitor's Center. He is currently retired.


Saturday, August 11, 2018
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Saylorville Visitor Center Theater


Mineral or Rock: Which is It?

with Bill Desmarais
Audience: Adults and Children

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Minerals and rocks are all around us and we have interacted with them ever since we filled our pockets with rocks as kids. Bill's program will introduce you to the differences between rocks and minerals and how to identify the many types of both minerals and rocks. You will also learn about some special properties of minerals. There will be a hands-on part where you will get handle all the major types of rocks and will try to identify some of the types. Each child (OK, adults too) will receive a mineral and a rock to help kick start your collection of minerals and rocks.

About Bill Desmarais

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Bill Desmarais retired from science teaching in 2007 after 36 years in the Council Bluffs and Cedar Rapids, Iowa school districts. His BA and Ma degrees are from the University of Northern Iowa. He taught environmental and earth sciences. During his career he earned several teaching awards on the local, state, and national levels. Bill is a Fellow in the Iowa Academy of Science and is a member of the Cedar Valley Rocks and Minerals Society as well as the Mid-America Paleontology Society.


Saturday, August 18, 2018
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Saylorville Visitor Center Theater

99 Wetlands: an ecologist visits every Iowa county

with Paul Weihe

Program Description

Wetlands are among Nature's most important--yet unappreciated--ecosystems. Paul is on a mission to show how our swamps, marshes, potholes and sloughs are important parts of the landscape. Every "Wetlands Wednesday" on his 99wetlands blog, a different Iowa county is profiled. Through photos of beautiful flora and fauna, demonstration of floodwater storage, discussions of water quality improvement, and interviews with people who love the wetlands, Paul is on a mission to slog through all of Iowa. Come hear about his noble quest

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About Paul Weihe

A native of metro Detroit, I was schooled in Michigan with a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Master's from Eastern Michigan University, both in Biology, then a PhD in Environmental Science from The Ohio State University. My research interests include wetland functional ecology and science pedagogy. I have taught at Central College in Pella since 1998.