February Book Club: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson

By Emily Clever

Astrophysics is a branch of science that can both amaze and intimidate many people. Even though I consider myself a bit of a science lover, I too am intimidated by astrophysics and the vastness of our universe. I have found biology, chemistry and ecology to be easier because they can be tangible.  I can examine animals and plants. I can see changes of color or state of chemicals. I can see the interactions of species in a food web.

The universe, however, is not tangible in the same way. We can see the faint glow of stars and other planets, but we can’t touch them. We can see photos of other planets from satellites that have been sent to collect information, but we can’t set foot on them. We cannot visit a neighboring universe on a weekend getaway.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry makes this challenging branch of science more accessible to those of us who may be intimidated by the topic. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the field, its history and future, without using complex equations or jargon.

I hope you enjoy it too and join the discussion on February 27th at 7PM at River Action in Davenport.

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Bridges to Conservation: Building a brighter future for Mississippi Mussels

Please join us Monday, January 15 at 6:30PM at the Moline Public Library to hear a presentation from Elizabeth Bainbridge, Fish and Wildlife Biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on mussel conservation in the Midwest.

River mussels exist out of sight and out of mind.  Because of this, these small, slow moving animals are often underestimated.  Mussels play an important role in aquatic ecosystems.  They are also one of the most endangered groups of animals in North America.  Between Illinois and Iowa at the Quad Cities exists one of the most diverse mussel beds on the Mississippi River.  Until recently, this bed was unknown to researchers.  When surveys for the new Interstate-74 Bridge began, these creatures were brought to light.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working within the community to preserve this natural resource.  Please come and learn how this process is taking place and why mussels deserve to exists in the spotlight.

Elizabeth moved to the Quad Cities in 2016 to spread the word of freshwater mussels for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Her position is funded by a unique partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation, as a result of the I-74 mussel relocation.  Prior to working for USFWS, Elizabeth was stationed with the Park Service at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  There, she worked to improving the health of rivers and streams within the park.  She received her Master’s degree in Wildlife at Fort Hays State University in western Kansas, where she studied the behavior and ecology of southern flying squirrels.  She started her academic career at the University of Dubuque in eastern Iowa.  Elizabeth was born and raised in Clinton County Iowa, near the Mississippi River, where her love of nature was born.  To date, she has worked with thousands of people of all ages, and many different partners, to foster an appreciation for conservation along the Mississippi.

We hope you can join us on Monday!