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MIC Lecture Series

2024 MIC Lecture Series

Join us Thursdays at 5pm at the Moab Information Center for our free lecture series!

May 9 | Waves of Incision help Carve Canyonlands

The Colorado River has carved some of the most iconic canyons in the world. What causes a river to cut a canyon? Why does the river and canyon character change between Meander and Cataract Canyon through Canyonlands? Geology PhD candidate Natalie Tanski will discuss how salt tectonics, mass-wasting, and river incision over the recent geologic period has led to the development of the unique landscape of Canyonlands.

May 16 | Founding Fathers: The Creation of Canyonlands National Park by Robert J. Anderson

The vision of Charlie Steen, Bates Wilson, and Stewart Udall paved the way for the creation of Canyonlands National Park. Charlie Steen represents the Atomic Energy Commission, which provided access to the White Rim Sandstone via the White Rim Road. Bates Wilson represents the vision of a national park protecting the confluence. Wilson wanted to protect a million acres of wild canyon country and generate a sustainable economy via tourism. Stewart Udall provided the political support needed to push the idea of a national park through Congress.

May 23 | Light Pollution Effects on the Colorado Plateau by Rhodes Smartt

Southeastern Utah is home to some of the darkest skies in the country with some incredible nocturnal night life thriving under its stars. However, with urbanization and population growth, there are threats on the horizon. Join Ranger Rhodes as we explore what makes the night skies of Canyonlands and Arches special, how we can continue to protect them, and what differences we can make at home to save our night skies for future generations.

June 6 | Native American Astronomy by Don Montoya

The original inhabitants of North America did not leave a written language; however, they did leave evidence indicating they were studying the night sky long before Euro-American colonization. Native Americans farmed, hunted, gathered, and established their lifeways by observation of the night sky. Encoded by oral traditions and symbology, astronomy played an important role in Native American culture. Their knowledge was the basis of governance, agricultural practices, and social order. The study of the cosmos led tribes to theorize about the origin of life in the universe.

June 13 | TBA

June 20 | Race and Gender through the NPS Uniforms

Join National Park Ranger Robert Anderson to learn about the history of the National Park Service’s iconic uniform through a gender and racial lens. There is a lot of history to glean from the uniform that is recognizable throughout the world.

June 27 | TBA

July 11 | Geology of Canyonlands by Rhodes Smartt

Have you ever wondered how Canyonlands was formed? National Park Ranger and Geologist Rhodes Smartt will take us on a journey through the geologic history of Canyonlands National Park. He will discuss the geology of the greater Colorado Plateau area and the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, and how it’s unique geology led to uranium mining.

July 25 | Soundscapes by Robert Anderson

Beep! Tweet! Sounds are all around us and play an important role in our experience with the landscape. The National Park Service is beginning to understand the relationship between sound and the inherited resources within the park. By preserving the natural sound, we all can enjoy our natural wonders a little more.

August 1 | Our Time in the Parks by Rhodes Smartt

Embark on a journey of introspection within our national parks. What is time, and why does it hold significance in our lives? Join Ranger Rhodes as he navigates these questions, unraveling the diverse perspectives through which we perceive time. Explore how these insights shape our appreciation, conservation efforts, and management strategies for our beloved public lands.




Check Out Videos from Previous Lectures!

“Torry in the Land of Arches” by Lisa Horstman 

Lisa Horstman discusses the story of developing the characters in her book “Torry in the Land of Arches.”

“Public Lands: Where, Why, and How?” by Walt Dabney

National Park Ranger and Superintendent and Texas State Parks Director, Walt Dabney answers these, and more, questions: Where did our Public Lands come from? Why do the western states have lots and other states almost none? How were states formed? What does the Constitution say about these lands? What was the effect of the Homestead Act and the Railroad Act? How were National Parks and Forests established? Why are these lands held “in common”, so important to us today? These and other questions and past and current issues are addressed in this hour long presentation.

“Tiny Fossils and the Big Picture: Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs” by Brian Davis

Every kid knows that dinosaurs were the biggest, fiercest, and most inspiring creatures to ever have walked the earth, but they are only part of the story. The ancient world was a diverse and vibrant place, and dinosaurs lived alongside a cast that included the earliest mammals. Come and learn what our ancestors were like and what their tiny fossils reveal about their lives. While most survived by scurrying between the feet of dinosaurs, others swam, glided, and even had dinosaurs for lunch!

“Ecological Interactions between Mountain Goats and American Pikas” by Mallory Sandoval Lambert

Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) and American pikas (Ochotona princeps) are naturally co-occurring across most of their overlapping distributions in western N. America. The southern limit of the natural range of mountain goats is in Idaho, whereas American pikas occur naturally as far south as New Mexico. However, the mountain goat range has been extended southwards with the establishment of translocated subpopulations in Utah and Colorado. These mountain goats now share habitat with pikas, providing an opportunity to study potential ecological interactions between these two alpine specialists near the southern limits of their current ranges. Join Mallory Sandoval Lambert as she talks about how her research is exploring this previously unstudied system through field-based experimentation, with a focus on the La Sal Mountains in southern Utah.

“Geologic History of Canyonlands” by Rhodes Smartt

Have you ever wondered how Canyonlands was formed? National Park ranger and geologist Rhodes Smartt will take us on a journey through the geologic history of Canyonlands National Park. He will discuss the geology of the greater Colorado Plateau area and the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands and how it’s unique geology led to uranium mining.

“Common Southwest Native Plants” by Jennifer M. Bousselot

Native plants are often overlooked as viable options that can provide many benefits to pollinators and people alike. Discover the basics of native plant gardening – selection, care, and cultural requirements. Join Jennifer Bousselot, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University and co-author of the Colorado Native Plant Society published 3rd edition of Common Southwestern Native Plants, as she discusses this important topic.

“Fear! Creepy Crawly Creatures of Canyonlands” by Devon Dunajski

Join Ranger Devon for a talk about all the things that scare us. Moab is in the heart of a vast desert wilderness. The sparseness of the landscape allows our imagination to run wild with “what-if” scenarios, from spider bites to predators creeping up on us in the canyons. However, the organisms that scare us the most have an important role in the desert ecosystem. Can a little bit of understanding of the critters that give us the creepy crawlies change our perspective?

“Guzzlers 101″ by Jon Blanc

Guzzlers are a type of water development that provides water for wildlife. They are a tool to mitigate negative impacts, habitat fragmentation and loss, drought, and human disturbance. Providing water improves occupied habitats and reduces the need to move to other areas seeking water. The BLM Moab Field Office Wildlife Program helps maintain more than 40 guzzlers that benefit bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope. Jon discusses the importance of guzzlers, how they are built, and more.