Science Cafe for 12-9-13 Canceled

The Science Cafe scheduled for Monday 12-9-13 has been canceled due to predicted weather.  Our next Science Cafe is scheduled for Monday, January 13th.

Monday, December 9, 2013 – Forecasting Extreme Weather Events


Title: Forecasting Extreme Weather Events

Speaker: Andy Kleinsasser–Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Wichita

Date/Time:  Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Extreme weather events such as winter storms, tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, floods and droughts/heat waves pose a substantial risk to life, property and commerce globally each year.  Powerful, majestic and mysterious, experiencing these types of events are the primary reason most meteorologists get “hooked” at a young age, beginning a life-long pursuit of understanding the world of extreme weather.  Because of their relatively rare occurrence, accurately forecasting extreme weather events pose various challenges to meteorologists; the presenter will attempt to highlight some of these forecast challenges.

A native of southern Minnesota, Andy is no stranger to extreme weather, experiencing many severe thunderstorms and winter storms throughout his childhood years.  One of his fondest weather memories is living through the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991, when two to four feet of snow buried the Minnesota region.  He received his BS in Atmospheric Science from the University of North Dakota in 2002.  He began his career as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in both Great Falls and Glasgow, Montana in 2001-03, transferring to the National Weather Service here in Wichita July 2003.  Andy is a seasoned Kansas forecaster, forecasting all types of extreme weather events over his ten-year tenure here in Wichita.

Andy enjoys spending time with his wife of five years and his 6-month-old daughter, along with other family and friends.  When he gets the chance, he also enjoys storm chasing, drumming, playing golf and rollerblading.

Contact Information for Dr. Amber Campbell Hibbs

Several people asked for the contact information for Dr. Amber Campbell Hibbs.

Here it is:


Phone: 785-532-3037


Monday November 11: Agriculture and Climate Change


Topic: Agriculture & Climate Change

Speaker: Amber Campbell Hibbs – Kansas State University

Date: Monday, November 11th at 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Climate is a dominant factor for crop production in the central Great Plains. Projected climate changes in Kansas include increasing temperatures, larger daily precipitation events and longer and more frequent heat waves. These shifts will impact agricultural production, water supply, and human health. With over 90% of its land area devoted to agriculture, the central Great Plains will be profoundly affected by climate change. Several research projects at Kansas State University are working to better understand how Kansans perceive changes in climate and provide locally relevant, climate education.

Amber Campbell Hibbs is an adjunct assistant professor of Anthropology at KSU and the Extension Project Coordinator for a Coordinator Agricultural Program (CAP) on focusing on cattle grazing and climate change as well as the Project Coordinator for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Climate Change Mitigation Project. She works with university faculty, partners, and project stakeholders at the local, state, and regional levels to promote climate literacy. Previously, she served as the Project Coordinator for the Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership (CGP-CEP) which ended in August 2013. The CGP-CEP worked to develop and implement climate education programs throughout the Central Great Plains region which enabled agricultural producers and rural community members to integrate the best available scientific information about climate into individual and community decisions.

Amber has a Ph.D. in Biocultural Anthropology from Emory University and a B.S. in Anthropology from Kansas State University. Her research involves human interactions with the environment through food production and their impacts on health and well being.

Monday October 14: Conservation and the Species Dating Game



Topic: Conservation and the Species Dating Game

Speaker: Schaneé Anderson – Curator of Education at Sedgwick County Zoo

Date: Monday October 14

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)


In the world of endangered species preservation every breeding counts.  However, not every animal should breed.   Sedgwick County Zoo actively prevents more endangered species from breeding than it breeds.  Making sure that the offspring is the right genetic mix, confirming that there are quality homes for those animals, and breeding to maintain captive genetic viability for 100 years is all part of the “dating game.”  Learn more about the Species Survival Plan as well as the conservation work that Sedgwick County Zoo assists with around the world.    You may be shocked to discover what animal is the most endangered at Sedgwick County Zoo!


Schaneé is a native of OmahaNebraska.  She started her zoo career as a teen volunteer at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo over 30 years ago.  In 1992 she migrated south to Kansas as curator of education at Sunset Zoo, ManhattanKansas and traveled further south in 2003 to become the curator of education at your Sedgwick County Zoo.


She has her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Nebraska and a master’s in elementary education and curriculum instruction from KansasStateUniversity.  She has served on the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Conservation Education Committee and Honors and Awards, is past-president of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, is a certified interpretive trainer with the National Association for Interpretation, and is an adjunct professor for Friends University.  In 2012 she was honored by KACEE with the John Strickler Award, the State’s top environmental education award.


She has been married to Charles for eighteen years and loves to spend time with their two sons who think they own the Zoo, two dogs, and a cat.  There is not much time for hobbies.

Monday, September 9: The History and Politics of ‘Climate Change’




The History and Politics of  ‘Climate Change’

Speaker: Harry Gregory, Board Member of Kansas Citizens for Science

Date: Monday, September 9

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)



The subject of ‘Climate Change’ has become highly politicized in the last few years. It is a highly complex subject on which a tremendous amount of research has been, and is still being carried out. A vast majority of climate scientists and world-wide scientific organizations agree that climate change is occurring at a pace not explained by natural events and is in fact the result of human activity.


For a number of reasons, there are business interests which feel threatened by the implications of climate change and the necessary solutions to the problems that are obviously occurring. These business interests have funded a huge public relations program in attempt to convince their political allies and the public that the science is wrong. Unfortunately, their efforts have muddied the waters enough that it is very difficult for the average citizen to sort out the truth from the fiction of climate change.


This program is part of an effort by the KCFS to help citizens to better understand the scientific side of the story.



Harry Gregory is a life-long environmentalist. He grew up on a farm in Missouri where he spent many hours observing wildlife in the area.


He has a BS in Education and a MS in Biology from the University of Central Missouri. His graduate studies concentrated on reptile behavior.


While still in college, he attended the Audubon Camp of Wisconsin studying various north woods habitats and used this information as a Nature Counselor at a private boys camp in Minnesota and a boy scout camp in Michigan. At his first teaching job in Hickman Mills, Mo., he established a two-acre outdoor lab on the school grounds.  Soon he became a founding member of “The Citizen’s Environmental Council of Kansas City”. This organization held workshops for other teachers to help them establish outdoor labs at their schools.


In 1971, he was appointed by the Missouri Governor to the Missouri State Advisory Board on Environmental Education. The task was to develop a State Plan on Environmental Education for use in public schools.


Harry has 12 years experience teaching Environmental Science  classes at both the college and high school levels and has served on the KCFS board for over 10 years.

Monday May 13: Face of Climate Change in Kansas


Climate Change and You

Speaker: Mary Knapp

Date: Monday May 13

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole 1720 E Douglas


What is climate change?  What are the myths and the facts?  How does it affect me?  Come interact with a climatologist to better understand this issue affecting us.


As the state climatologist, Mary Knapp occupies a unique position in the Department of Agronomy. She is responsible for establishing and maintaining a statewide network of equipment for gathering of weather data, and answering questions on climate and weather matters. She also maintains the web site that provides a constant update and complete archive of weather-related data for Kansas.


Her degree is in Agronomy from K-State, but her career path back to the department was not entirely straightforward. The Weather Data Library started at K-State in 1976 in the Physics Department. Mary started working at K-State after a stint in the Peace Corps in Dominican Republic as a rice specialist. After a number of years as a research assistant in Entomology, she joined Computer Information Systems in Extension, working with the State Climatologist Dean Bark. When Dr. Bark retired, she became acting state climatologist. The Weather Data Library moved to Agronomy in 2002.


The best part of being state climatologist is being able to travel the state frequently, checking on weather data collection stations and giving talks. She also enjoys the interaction with other weather and climate specialists in the region and nationwide. She is especially proud that K-State recently received a 50-year recognition from the National Weather Service for continuous weather observations during that time.


She advises students interested in meteorology or climatology to take as many courses as possible in mathematics and statistics, and in communications. The courses in math and statistics will help students interpret and understand data throughout their lifetimes, she says. And the courses in communications are vital to any professional position, and always will be, she adds.


Monday April 8: Oceans of Kansas – Our fossil treasure

Oceans of Kansas – Our fossil treasure

Wichita Science Café

Monday, April 8

7:30 pm

The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)

The rocks left behind by the many oceans that have covered Kansas in the past contain a  spectacular variety of fossils, some of which are unique to our state, and many of which are exhibited in museums around the world. These fossils were first discovered in the late 1860s and started a ‘fossil rush’ to Kansas by the most prominent paleontologists of the day. Besides our fossils, what many people do not realize is that these same ancient oceans were also the source of just about all of our mineral resources. Oil and natural gas, salt, gypsum, limestone, shale, clay and other minerals mined in this state accumulated at the bottom of these same oceans many millions of years ago. Take a trip back in time to see some of the strange and wonderful creatures that once swam in the Oceans of Kansas.


Michael J. Everhart is a 1969 graduate of Wichita State University. After his military service (U.S. Army) he returned to Wichita State for his Masters Degree (1973).  He worked for the Wichita Sedgwick County Health Department for 12 years and served as the Environmental Health Director from 1981-1985. He was hired as the Environmental Affairs manager at the Boeing Company, where he retired after 17 years. Mike has been an Adjunct Curator of Paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas since 1998.


Mike is an expert on Late Cretaceous marine fossils of central and western Kansas, and on the history of paleontology in Kansas. In addition, he has worked with the “T rex Sue” exhibition at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, and Exploration Place in Wichita. Mike was a contributor to the BBC documentary “Chased by Sea Monsters” and served as one of the senior science advisers on the 2007 National Geographic IMAX film, Sea Monsters. His work has been featured in five made for television videos on the History and Discovery channels.


He is the creator and webmaster of the educational “Oceans of Kansas Paleontology” web site: which has been on the Internet since December, 1996.  He served as an editor of the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science from 2006 to 2011 and was President of the KAS in 2005. Mike is currently a speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council.

Monday March 11: Charles Darwin: The Development of a Naturalist

Date: Monday March 11th

Time: 7:30 pm

Place: The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)

Speaker: Dr. Alan Maccarone will present “Charles Darwin: The Development of a Naturalist.”


Dr. Alan Maccarone earned his Ph. D. from Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey.  He has been a Professor of Biology at Friends University since 1998 where he previously held the positions of Director of Environmental Studies for the Graduate Program and Director of Zoo Science for the Undergraduate program.
He is currently an ornithological and ecological consultant for Altwell LLC, on Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat study in Kansas.  Most recent of his many publications include: ”Changes in the abundance and spatial distribution of the Atlantic Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata) on a Texas Beach two years after Hurricane Ike”, Texas Journal of Science, (2011) and “Nest-activity patterns and food-provisioning rates by Great Egrets (Ardea alba).”,  Waterbirds, (2010).

February 11, 2012. Got a telescope! Now what?: How to see more and do more with a backyard observatory


Date: Monday, Feb 11, 2013

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: The Donut Whole

1720 E. Douglas

Speaker: C. W. Robertson

SETEC Observatory


Most professional astronomers can take data or analyze/model data, but they don’t have the funding, the time, or the students to do both. Most amateur astronomers can take lots of data, but don’t have the time to glean all the information from the data. But there are ways these two groups can work together, whether it is looking for supernovae, observing variable stars, eclipsing binaries or newly suspected variables that do some pretty strange things. The key is to find a good match between your interests, your equipment, and the science that can be done.


We’ll present an overview of the kinds of science that can be done with a backyard observatory, including observing programs, tips, tricks, how to get started, where to get help, how to join an international collaboration, and how to get your results published.


SETEC Observatory is a private observatory located northwest of Wichita, Kansas. The purpose of the observatory is to assist others (amateurs and professionals) in the study of Delta Scuti Stars, Variable Stars (AAVSO), newly suspected variable stars, eclipsing binaries or stars that are part of the Blazhko Project.

This work was partially funded with a grant from the American Astronomical Society.