The nerdiness continues! This month we’re keeping things local – looking at plants, animals, and music in the tri-state region. We have three wonderful nerds presenting, read on to learn more about the presentations and presenters for this month.

Wait Wait, Don’t Plant That! with Madeline Banks

Wilmington is serendipitously located within the greater Philadelphia area which boasts over 30 public gardens in 30 square miles. As you wander these luscious gardens, you may be gathering ideas for your own outdoor space, but want to learn more about improving the ecological value of our shared world. Look no further! Join me as we learn about invasive plants, their ecology, and native alternatives to non-native ornamentals.

Madeline Banks graduated from Miami University in 2016 with her Bachelor’s in German, Botany, and Environmental Science. After graduation, Madeline spent 6 years in natural resources management within the realm of public horticulture, and now works at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science as their Interpretation Manager. Madeline spends her days caring for the animals at DelMNS, talking to guests about cool nature things, and making schedules for her awesome staff. Outside of work, Madeline loves travel, hiking, and cats (specifically her cats Plum and Peanut).

The Evolution of Fear: A Slithery Science with Callan Tweedie

This Nerd Nite we’re taking a deep dive into the slithery, scaly history of humans’ fear of snakes. Why do so many people have this fear? (Spoiler alert: It’s scientific!) We’ll discuss why snakes are actually incredibly important and amazing creatures and learn about a few native species that you can find in your own backyard.

Dr. Callan Tweedie is a veterinarian who is passionate about animal wellness and welfare, protection of wildlife, and all things reptiles and invertebrates. When she’s not designing exhibits for bugs and monitor lizards at the upcoming Edelman Fossil Park & Museum, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee, cheering on Philly sports teams, or spending time with her favorite 16 year-old kitty, Garrison.

Music From the Banks of the Brandywine with Brian Cox

The presentation I propose is one that I used to give to the Road Scholar tour called “The DuPonts in Delaware. Titled “Music from the Banks of the Brandywine,” I cover music from Colonial times through the early 20th century, mainly around Wilmington. Alfred I. DuPont is the focus of the lecture, because his is the most compelling story, however I also include some of Ruth Wales duPont’s music (from Winterthur). While I can do an hour long talk, it’s not a problem to edit it down to 20 minutes.

Brian Cox is a native Delawarean, who has been a musician for most of his life. He was educated at the University of Delaware and Temple University. Brian has performed on tuba, bass, and as a conductor with many of the leading orchestras in the area, including the Delaware Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, OperaDelaware, Reading Symphony, and the Curtis Institute Orchestra.  He’s also in demand as a jazz musician, and is the Sousaphone player for Philadelphia’s Hoppin’ John Orchestra.  In 1993, Mr. Cox was commissioned to research historical music from the State of Delaware, culminating in a commercial recording, live performances, and publications of works from the Colonial era to the early 20th century. Since 1999, Mr. Cox has been director of music at Salesianum School in Wilmington.