Tuesday, March 10: Kansas Bird Populations and Distribution – An Ever Changing Mosaic

Chuck Otte

Tuesday, March 10; 6pm at Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas Ave)


In late summer 2019 a report was released that stated that the US and Canada had lost 1 out of every 4 breeding birds since 1970. This amounted to nearly 3 billion fewer breeding birds north of Mexico. Otte will discuss the report, look at some Kansas species that are expanding their range and also losing population numbers and then discuss some of the causes of the decline and what can be done.
Chuck grew up on a family farm in York County, Nebraska.
Attended and received 2 degrees from the University of Nebraska.
B.S. in Agronomy (Crop Production) – 1979
M.S. in Agronomy (Plant Breeding and Genetics) – 1981
Employed by the Geary County Extension Office since February, 1982.
Chuck has the sole programming responsibilities for agriculture, horticulture and natural resources for Geary County, Kansas.  He has been the Geary County Extension Agent for 38 years and served as President of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents in 2007.  
He served as Chairman of the Junction City/Geary County Metropolitan Planning Commission for four years, serving on the commission for a total of nine years. Chuck is a past president for the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS), previously served as the KOS newsletter editor for over twelve years, currently serves as newsletter editor and secretary of the Kansas Ornithological Society and the Kansas Bird Records Committee and has served as Chairman of the Kansas Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council, an advisory group to the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. He has coauthored two books about Kansas birds.

Tuesday, January 14: Health Messaging Targeting Vaping Behavior

Speaker: Michael Smith

Topic: Health Messaging Targeting Vaping Behavior

Tuesday, January 14; 6:30pm; Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas, Wichita, KS)



Smoking has been well established as an unhealthy behavior with severe consequences that include chronic disease and death. Over the past couple of decades, e-cigarettes have been rising in popularity, particularly among youth aged 12 and older. Vaping has been advertised as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes; however, recent research and the emerging EVALI disease outbreak suggests otherwise. It is vital for these users that they be exposed to health messaging targeting vaping behavior and its consequences, particularly among vulnerable populations. The aim of this presentation is to discuss some of the issues surrounding effective message targeting for smoking and vaping behaviors using health behavior theory.



Michael Smith is a Health Promotion PhD student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman with research interests in sedentary behavior, technology and individual exercise management, smoking and vaping behavior among young adults, and Cannabis consumption behavior among medical and non-medical users.

Michael obtained a Bachelor of Art at East Central University in Oklahoma and shortly after began a 14-year career in website design and audio/visual technology installation and management at Pre-Paid Legal Services in Ada, Oklahoma.

Michael re-entered the academic community in 2013 to follow a passion for health and wellness among general and special populations. Michael obtained a Master’s in Wellness Management with a focus in exercise science and the effects of activity tracking devices on exercise adherence and goal attainment among working adults at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Michael has presented academic research in exercise science and health behavior at several local, regional, and nation-wide meetings and conferences including the American College of Sports Medicine Regional and National Meetings; the Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; and the American Public Health Association National Meeting. Michael has also been published in several academic journals as a primary or contributing author for work in activity tracking devices, exercise behavior, smoking and vaping behavior, and marijuana perceptions and behavior.

Michael lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, 3 really annoying dogs, and 2 cats that couldn’t care less. Michael has a college aged son who is well taller than him and will be welcoming a daughter in just a few short weeks.



Tuesday, December 10: The Pantanal in Brazil: Birds, Jaguars and More

The Pantanal in Brazil: Birds, Jaguars and More with speaker with Kevin Groeneweg

Tuesday, December 10; 6:30pm Watermark Books (4701 E. Douglas)


Kevin Groeneweg presents photos from his recent trip to the Pantanal in Brazil. Although primarily a birding trip, the Pantanal is often referred to as the Serengeti of South America and provides a unique wildlife experience. There is no better place in the world to get up-close looks at Jaguars.

Kevin has been an avid birder for over 20 years. He has traveled extensively throughout Kansas, the US and several countries in Central and South America in search of birds. An engineer by trade, he lives with his wife in Wichita.


Tuesday, November 12th: Common Scientific Misconceptions

Speaker: Greg Novacek

Common Science Misconceptions

Tuesday, November 12th, 6:30 pm at Watermark Books  (4701 E Douglas Ave, Wichita)


We all have ideas about the way the world works that are contrary to what is known scientifically.  During this presentation, many common misconceptions will be discussed along with ways to dispel them.  We will also examine how misconceptions arise.

Greg is currently the director of STEM Initiatives in the WSU School of Education and a physics and astronomy educator in the WSU Department of Mathematics, Statics, and Physics.  Greg’s professional interests include: astronomy education; inquiry-based science education, and misconceptions about science.  During his career, he has given hundreds of presentation on science topics to thousands of school-aged children.  As a former director of the Lake Afton Public Observatory, Greg provided people an opportunity to learn more about the universe they live in.  Greg received a B.S. in Astronomy-Physics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a M.S. in Physics from Wichita State University.

Tuesday, October 8th – Jurassic Lark: Why Birds Are Dinosaurs


Jurassic Lark: Why Birds are Dinosaurs

Tuesday, October 8, 2019; 6:30 pm at Watermark Books; 4701 E Douglas Ave, Wichita

Rachel Roth, Naturalist – Great Plains Nature Center

From brooding behaviors to pneumatic bones, the similarities between modern birds and dinosaurs go well beyond feathers. In the last two years huge leaps in research and hundreds of new fossils continue to paint a picture of ancient birds that blurs the line between “avian” and “non-avian.” Rachel will explain why dinosaurs still exist; they simply took to the sky.

Rachel Roth is the Great Plains Nature Center’s resident bird nerd who got hooked on all things feathered while studying Wildlife Management & Ecology at K-State. An award-winning science interpreter and GPNC Naturalist for 4 years, Rachel also worked as a wildlife field technician studying birds in the tallgrass prairie and arctic tundra before returning to her Wichita hometown.

Tuesday, September 10 – Innovations in Breast Imaging



Topic: Innovations in Breast Imaging

Speaker: Dr. Melanie Pearce Smith

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, September 10; 6:30pm; Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas Ave)

Are the days of the boob squeeze behind us yet? Are there alternatives that are as effective as the mammogram? What is on the horizon? Let’s discuss the current imaging modalities, their benefits and limitations, and then delve into supplemental screening tools and future prospects in the detection of breast cancer.

Dr. Melanie Pearce is a Oklahoma transplant who was born and raised in Concordia, Kansas. She received her B.S. in Microbiology at Kansas State University in 2000. She completed her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in 2005, and after an intern year at the Medical Center of Independence in Missouri, she was accepted to the University of Oklahoma Diagnostic Radiology program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. After the 4-year residency program, she pursued her Fellowship in Breast Imaging from the OU Breast Institute in Oklahoma City. After Fellowship training, Melanie began work at Integris Southwest Breast Center in Oklahoma City as the Director of Breast Imaging. After 4 years in that role, she accepted a position at Mercy Breast Center in Oklahoma City where she is now the Director of Breast Imaging for the main campus as well as three satellite imaging facilities in central Oklahoma. Melanie is a member of the Society of Breast Imaging and also sits on the Imaging Specialty council, the Cancer Committee at Mercy, and the Mercy Ministry Breast Council. She is a regular speaker at the Project 31 breast cancer support group and also participates in a weekly “Prospective breast cancer conference” with a team of Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Breast Surgeons, Pathologists, Nurse Navigators, Genetic counselors, Research facilitators, and Social Workers.

Tuesday, May 14: Soundtrack to Our Summer Nights – Insect Communication

Dr. Gideon Ney

Soundtrack to Our Summer Nights – Insect Communication

Tuesday May 14; 6:30pm at Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas)


As the warm weather arrives back to Kansas a chorus of singers is waking up to fill our nights with the ubiquitous soundtrack to our summer nights outside with family and friends. But who are our melodious neighbors and what are they saying? We will discuss the mechanisms and importance of acoustic communication in insects. As well as considering biological diversity and the role acoustic communication has in reinforcing species boundaries. Exploring in more depth behavioral and genetic isolation between cryptic species in the genus Neoconocephalus, the North American coneheaded katydids.


Dr. Gideon Ney is a Wichita native and former science instructor at Northwest High School. Gideon earned his PhD in Biology from The University of Missouri in 2017. His dissertation work focused on investigating a group of small insects to better understand large, complex evolutionary mechanisms related to genetic differentiation and behavioral isolation. His research on katydid population genetics took him form troubleshooting genetic assays at the lab bench to escaping alligators and quaking bogs at field sites across the country. His research has been published in multiple scientific journals, including Conservation Genetics and the Journal of Orthopteran Research. Gideon currently works as a professor of science at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tuesday April 9: Fallacies of Astronomy

What is real, and what isn’t?   Can the moon really be blue or green?  The truth about your “birth sign”…. and much, much more!     Let’s learn the truth.
 I FIRMLY debunk astrology…

Jackie Beucher, Overland Park, KS.
Watermark Books & Cafe
4701 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS
Tuesday, 9 April, 2019
6:30 pm
Vice President, Astronomical Society of Kansas City
Treasurer, Kansas Citizens For Science
Manager, Jo Co Science Cafe
Sec.-Treasurer , Mid-States Region of the Astronomical League
Vice President, Mo Chapter of International Dark Sky Association
Jackie has been an astronomy enthusiast her whole life due to her father, a TWA pilot, showing the young Jackie the night sky from their driveway in rural Overland Park.   She joined the Astronomical Society of Kansas City in 1984.  She bought her first telescope to observe Halley’s Comet in 1986, and saw her first total eclipse of the sun in Hawaii in 1991.    The Astronomical Society of KC owns Powell Observatory, built in 1985 in Louisburg, Kansas – a place where the skies are dark.   Jackie has been a team leader there for more than 25 years, having developed many of the programs for the public.    She has given countless presentations there, and all over the area to schools, libraries, civic groups, etc.   
In the late 90’s, she began leading tours all over the world to see total eclipses in locations like Greece, Aruba, Australia, Tahiti, China, and Siberia.    She has now seen 8 total eclipses, and 2 annular eclipses, and is heading for La Serena, Chile, in South America for the next one on July 2, 2019.

Tuesday March 12 – Storm Chasing in Kansas

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 pm Watermark Books (basement), 4701 E Douglas Ave

Speaker: Mikey Gribble


Starting with footage of some of the reports of storm activity that have appeared on KWCH Mr. Gribble will cover some of the basic facts about supercells, tornadoes and how the most violent storms on the planet occur in the plains each spring. He will relate how he became interested in storm chasing and the training it took to be successful. He will cover the three basic types of supercells and the strategy and tactics he uses to ‘chase’ them. Then he will go into a brief case study of the El Reno tornado which was the most dangerous storm ever for chasers. Three professionals were killed along with several other observers who lacked training.
Mr. Gribble works as a storm chaser for KWCH and his work has been broadcast on several national TV channels including National Geographic’s Inside the Mega Twister, Virgin 1, the Discovery Channel Danger Hunters, BBC The World’s Deadliest Weather and did an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
Mikey Gribble
Born and raised in Wichita, Mikey grew up around severe weather and has been interested in it since he was a kid. His storm chasing career started in 2001 with a tornado warned storm by Kingman, Kansas. Mikey knew immediately after that first chase that it was something he wanted to do and he was dedicated to learning how to forecast and chase tornadoes. After taking the only meteorology courses that were available at Wichita State University where Mikey was attending college at the time, he began buying meteorology course books from the University of Oklahoma and learning meteorology and forecasting in his spare time, with a focus on mesoscale meteorology and forecasting tornadoes. After three years of hard work learning how to forecast and narrowly missing tornadoes in the field chasing, his persistence finally paid off when he had a break out year in 2004, seeing 21 tornadoes that spring. Mikey also joined the KWCH weather team in 2004 as a storm chaser, making his on-air debut on May 12, 2004 while covering eight tornadoes across south central Kansas. 
Since his start with KWCH as a storm chaser, Mikey has gone on to document more than 160 tornadoes across 9 different states and his storm chasing has been featured in several national and international television shows. Mikey said his most notable accomplishments are getting to witness both the #1 and #2 largest tornadoes ever recorded and getting to work with National Geographic, but he takes the most pride in getting to be a part of Storm Team 12 and help cover dangerous weather for his home state of Kansas. 
“I love storm chasing. It is my passion in life and there are few times I am happier than when I am out in the field chasing. You get to feel the entire spectrum of emotions when you’re out there and you get to see incredible things few people will ever witness. I love every aspect of it and it’s something I’ll do for the rest of my life”