Discovery Lecture Series
Throughout the year, the Museum offers lectures and discussions about the Lowcountry’s history, culture, and environment. Topics vary and guest presenters come from around the region.
Select weekdays (typically Wednesdays) from October–May the Discovery Lecture Series is offered.
$7 per person (for the majority of programs)
The Coastal Discovery Museum also offers a History Forum of the Lowcountry series. Check the event calendar or call for other lectures, talks and guest speakers offered throughout the year. These programs are $10 per person for non members, $5 for basic members, and free for supporting and above membership levels. The 2017-18 topics are listed below.
Discovery Lectures – 2019- 20:
The Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery Lecture Series offers presentations from late September through April. Please check back to find a full schedule soon. All presentations are at 2 PM unless noted. Please check the online calendar to make your reservations.Register Here
Blue Whales – Biology and Research
Wednesday, January 22nd – 2 PM – $7 per person
Dr. Michael Williamson
Professor Williamson will discuss Blue Whales and the current research of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, which conducts the world’s longest research program on this species. Associate Professor Michael Williamson has been active in education and research for over 40 years. He founded WhaleNet in 1993 to excite students about math, science, the environment, and technology (STEM). He is also Vice-president of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, which has conducted the longest continuous research program on blue whales in the world, since 1979. Williamson, an Associate Professor of Science at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts 1988-2008, is currently Scientist in Residence at St. Mary’s Anglican Girls School in Perth, Western Australia where he teaches and advises on marine science education and research. He was also a pioneer in Massachusetts whale research as the founder and director of the Pelagic Systems Research & Massachusetts Whale Watch which began studying cetaceans in Massachusetts Bay in 1976. Register Here
Biogeography of The Carolinas
Monday, January 27thth– 2 PM -$7 per person
Dr. Chris Marsh-Executive Director of both the Spring Island Trust and the LowCountry Institute
Dr Marsh has over 40 years of experience working in habitats throughout North and South Carolina. For the past 16 years he has served as Executive Director of both the Spring Island Trust and the LowCountry Institute, prior to moving to the Lowcountry, Dr. Marsh was a biology professor at Coastal Carolina University where he taught ornithology, ecology, and animal behavior.Dr. Chris Marsh will give a bird’s eye view of the biogeographical regions of the Carolinas, discussing how unique habitats add to the region’s diversity of plants and animals. Register Here
Skyscapes and Seascapes
Wednesday, January 29th – 2 PM – $7 per person
Skyscapes and Seascapes: As seen from the sea and coastal regions, the sky is a living theater of light and color. The encyclopedia of celestial and marine phenomena visible in maritime environments includes mirages, rainbows, fiery sunsets, the legendary green flash; coronas, sun dogs, glories, waterspouts, and other endlessly changing displays of light and color. Register Here
Tracking Bird Migrations: Past and Present
Monday, February 3rd – 2 PM – $7 per person
Since the day John James Audubon tied a silver thread around a bird’s foot in 1808 and verified its return the following year, researchers have been refining methodologies to track the movements of birds. Today, as our planet is rapidly changing, birds and other wildlife are facing growing challenges, and understanding more about their seasonal migrations and the specific routes they travel may be key to their survival. Bob will highlight a variety of ways that birds are being tracked both locally and on a global scale, and some of the amazing things we’re learning about them.
Bob Speare has been a professional naturalist and environmental educator for over 30 years and has led birding and photography trips throughout the US and abroad. He worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society for 23 years, before moving to the Lowcountry in 2015. Today he continues to lead natural history tours and teaches for a variety of groups including Road Scholar, Audubon, and the Lowcountry Master Naturalist teachers program. Register Here
H.L. Hunley – Its History, Recovery, and Restoration
Wednesday, February 5th – 2 PM – $7 per person
Not named until after the tragic death on board of its benefactor the H.L. Hunley went on to be the first successful submarine attack in history. Its first was unfortunately also its last. Lost until its discovery in a watery grave off SC in 1996, it has been under the microscope since it was raised. It has stubbornly clung to many of its secrets for 18 years.
Since 2000 living historian Steve Quick has told the story across the upper Midwest to schools, libraries, museums, round tables and historical events. Relocating to SC he now brings this one of a kind story home. Part history, part technology, part mystery there is something in this compelling story for everyone. Register Here
Feathered: Who’s who in the Lowcountry?
Monday, February 10th – 2 PM – $7 per person
This participatory program will give you an entertaining introduction to some of our Low Country bird celebrities. We are blessed to host a diverse assortment of birds in our forests, marshes, lagoons, tidal creeks, and on our sandy beaches. Bring your eyes, ears and thinking caps!!
Diana Churchill grew up in Savannah and developed an early love for the Low Country’s salt marshes, tidal creeks, and sandy beaches. She earned a B.A. in Spanish from Eckerd College in Florida, and an MA in Holistic Studies from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. While in Massachusetts, she joined the Brookline Bird Club and got hooked on watching and learning about birds.
Diana moved back to Savannah in December 1998, and began working at Wild Birds Unlimited. In 2001, she began writing a twice-monthly column – “Birder’s Eye View” – for the Savannah Morning News. Her first book, Birder’s Eye View: Savannah and the Low Country, was published in December 2011. Birder’s Eye View II: The Low Country was published in 2018. Diana has served several terms as President of Ogeechee Audubon Society, and has led birding and natural history programs for Audubon, Wilderness Southeast, and the Georgia Ornithological Society. Register Here
The Hidden Beauty of Sand
Wednesday, February 19th – 2 PM – $7 per person
Join us as we explore the beauty and the complexity of sand. Examine actual samples of red, yellow, pink, black, green and even purple sand from the lecturer’s private collection; explore the microscopic beauty of individual grains; inspect round, egg shaped, and star shaped sand grains to discover clues to their origin; watch sand dunes march along the beach and across vast deserts; observe individual sand grains bouncing in the wind; learn about the structure of various sand dunes; listen to recordings of “singing” and “barking sand”; meet some of the many ocean and land animals that make their home in the sand; and browse through an eclectic gallery of sand sculptures. You will never look at sand the same way again.
After completing his education, Anderson joined the U. S. Navy as a medical officer, and practiced Emergency Medicine, Aerospace Medicine, and Undersea Medicine for most of his adult life. Tom’s academic achievements include an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Physics, a Doctor of Medicine degree and a Master of Public Health degree in International Health. He resides in Bluffton, SC with his wife Elaine. His hobbies include flying sailplanes, diving, woodworking, and traveling. Register Here
A Community-based Oyster Shell Recycling and Bed Restoration Project
Monday, February 24th – 2 PM – $7 per person
Jean Fruh, Executive Director of The Outside Foundation will discuss how a small, local, grassroots non-profit (TOF) received funding from an environmental giant, Patagonia Inc., to establish a community-based oyster shell recycling and bed restoration project here on Hilton Head Island.
Jean is the Executive Director of The Outside Foundation. The Outside Foundation, a 501c3, was formed in 2014 with a mission to get kids outside and to protect and preserve our local environment. Jean is in her 14th year at Outside Brands where she serves as an interpretive naturalist/kayak guide, standup paddle board instructor, and internship program coordinator. Jean is a certified Low Country Master Naturalist and ACA L-2 Paddle Boarding Instructor. She currently serves on the “Keep Beaufort County Beautiful” Board and is a volunteer for Volunteers in Medicine. Register Here
Conservation Through Sustainable Seafood
Wednesday, February 26th – 2 PM – $7 per person
Our marine habitats are changing rapidly. Due to increased water temperatures, decreased salinity and degraded habitats, now, more than ever, we need a strong understanding of how fish and other marine animals are adjusting their seasonal migratory routes. When the composition of species off our shores is evolving how can we be conservation champions for the ocean through our seafood sourcing? Amy MacKown, from the South Carolina Aquarium’s Good Catch Program will navigate us through these challenges and demystify what sustainability means when it comes to fishing and eating seafood.
Originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland where fishing is a time-honored way of life, Amy came to South Carolina after five years of sustainable fisheries work in Rhode Island. She brings a wealth of knowledge gathered from working in Federal, State, and regional natural resource management agencies including NOAA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Amy has also worked in the non-profit realm as both an Executive Director and Community Organizer spearheading conservation initiatives with fishing communities nationally. In 2015 Amy was presented with the “Promoting Our Natural Resources Award” by the U.S. Department of Interior and has experience on Capitol Hill championing healthy ocean legislation. Register Here
Overwintering Hummingbirds in the Lowcountry
Monday, March 2nd – 2 PM – $7 per person
Doreen Cubie will discuss her research with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, focusing on her banding study of wintering hummingbirds near Charleston, South Carolina. She will also discuss her research with Rubythroats from Manitoba to British Columbia, where she learned more about the northern and western limits of the breeding range of Rubythroats and investigated whether South Carolina’s wintering Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate to Canada for the summer.
Doreen Cubie is a master bird bander, one of only about 400 hummingbird banders in the US and Canada. She began studying wintering hummingbirds in the southeastern US in 2005. Her hummingbird research has been published in three peer-reviewed journals: Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Western Birds, and Journal of Field Ornithology. Doreen’s professional career was in publications, including a position as an editor with the National Wildlife Federation. During the last 20 years, she has worked as a freelance magazine writer, and her articles have been published in a number of national magazines, including National Wildlife, Audubon, Wildlife Conservation, Wilderness, and Natural History. Register here