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April 3rd, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : April 8th

The Rock Ledge That Gave Birth to Kansas City, Missouri

Speakers: Richard J. Gentile, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Date: April 8, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

A rock ledge along he south bank of the Missouri River served for over 75 years as an all-weather, natural wharf for thousands of steamboats. The 4000-inhabitant Town of Kansas was built on the rock levee. This levee and small town facilitated the development of Westport and eventually current-day Kansas City. Nothing remains of the Town of Kansas,being under several feet of fill and it now exists only as a footnote in history books.

Dr. Gentile’s publications include over 50 books and five geologic maps. He has done extensive fossil collecting and is an expert on the geology of the Greater Kansas City area. His research specialty is the cyclical stratigraphy and paleontology of the Pennsylvanian-age rocks of western and northwestern Missouri, especially the Greater Kansas City area. He provided geological advice during the construction of 114 Minuteman Missile sites as well as numerous other construction projects. He is currently the Curator of the Richard L. Sutton Geosciences Museum at UMKC. He has been active in the field of geology since 1958 with numerous honors received. Of particular note is his collection of 10,000 slides of geological processes and features from all over the world. Bring your questions about local geology and fossils.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

February 25th, 2014

Help Support Strong Science Education

Teachers need support and ongoing professional development to continue to provide strong science education. Several years ago, dedicated funds to support science professional development were cut by the state. Before these cuts the state science teachers convention frequently drew 700-900 science teachers. Since the cuts, with many teachers having to pay their own way, attendance has hovered around 200.

KCFS stepped into the breach and has offered scholarships for teachers to attend the state science teachers convention. We have given preference to teachers early in their careers and to teachers whose districts provide no funding for such professional development.

Last year we awarded 11 scholarships. We would like to expand the number of scholarships.

The cost for the entire weekend convention, registration, room and board, is $275. Please consider a donation to help us provide more scholarships. KCFS pledges that any money donated to these scholarships will be used 100% for scholarships.

Send a check to:
PO Box 442136
Lawrence, KS 66044

Write “Scholarships” on the check.

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Harry McDonald
President, KCFS

February 25th, 2014

KCFS KATS Kamp Scholarships

Kansas Citizens for Science, a long time partner with KATS, announces scholarships of $100-275 to be awarded to attendees for KATS Kamp this spring.

KCFS realizes that KATS Kamp is the premiere professional development opportunity for science teachers in Kansas. We therefore want to provide the opportunity for increased numbers of K-12 teachers to attend.

Early career teachers who have district/building mentors are encouraged to have their mentors apply also. If an early career teacher is awarded a scholarship, their mentor will receive one also. We want such teams to be able to work together at Kamp. An early career teacher may, of course, apply even if no mentor applies.

KCFS will provide scholarships based on the following criteria:
• Teachers who will be first time Kamp attendees.
• Early career teachers.
• Teachers whose district provides no support for attendance.
• Teachers who will agree to attend one of the sessions sponsored by KCFS
• District/building mentors of early career teachers

Award recipients will be expected to apply knowledge obtained at Kamp in their classroom.

Applicants do not have to meet all the above criteria, but these are the criteria which will be used to determine scholarship recipients.

Applications may be downloaded from the the KATS website or from www.kcfs.org. Applications should be sent by email to Harry McDonald, KCFS President, biologycctrack@hotmail.com, by March 15.

Recipients will be contacted by March 22 by email.

February 11th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : Feb. 11th

A History of Water Pollution in Kansas City

Speaker: John Dunn, Environmental Engineer, US EPA Region 7

Date: February 11, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Kansas City is a river town. Our local history and the history of water pollution are closely related. We will talk about familiar places and names, and how this fits into the water pollution story of Kansas City. You will see how the decisions of years past have created our current challenges and choices in the KC Metro. Please bring questions!

Mr. Dunn has worked as an Environmental Engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. During that time he has served in the NPDES Water Pollution Permits Section. His areas of experience have included Water Quality-based permits, Industrial Permits, Biofuels development, Power Plant issues, TMDL’s, Biosolids, Big River issues, and Security and Water Infrastructure Protection. Volunteer in the Missouri 340 race. Ground Crew, Safety Boat.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

January 5th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : Jan 7th

Help Us Begin Our Fifth Year of Science Cafes

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins: Now that I have your attention, let’s talk!

Speakers: Gary Wesche, Kansas City Zoo Penguin Education Coordinator

Date: January 7, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Penguins, what can we learn from those birds as we learn about those birds? And why will people engage in difficult subjects if the talk is linked to a bird in a tux?

Gary Wesche is a local educator. In his 30 year career he has taught 4th grade in public school, taught middle school science in private school, taught worldwide classes from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in 2009-10 from a tent with PolarTREC, and was an at home dad for 16 years to 6 children while acting and directing in musical theater. This last year Gary was an adjunct physics professor at Rockhurst University, was hired by the Kansas City Zoo under a grant from the Zoo Learning Fund to be the Penguin Education Coordinator, helped launch the international organization Polar Educators International, PEI, represented PolarTREC and Kansas City at the International Penguin Conference in Bristol, England, and found time to direct and choreograph his favorite musical for the Chestnut Fine Arts Center in Olathe.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

December 1st, 2013

Johnson County Science Café : December 3rd

Observations on Tanzanian Animals, Ecology, and Culture

Speakers: Harry and Charlotte McDonald

Date: December 3, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Harry and Charlotte will share their thoughts (and dare we say, insights) on Africa from their trip to Tanzania this fall. They will share their pictures and others from the trip as well as perspectives gained from their personal observations, from information provided by their guide, and from additional research. In the spirit of scientific conversation, all are encouraged to share their own stories and opinions from trips to the Dark Continent.

Harry and Charlotte are retired science teachers, naturalists and avid bird-watchers. Along with the usual cast of characters to be seen in Tanzania, they were able to identify over 160 species of birds and will share stories about many of them. For those of you that remember the tales of Tarzan and references to an elephant graveyard, Harry and Charlotte will suggest one possible inspiration for that legend.

Join us next Tuesday.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

November 16th, 2013

The Case for Investing in Science

Be sure to read this interesting article from Science Magazine.

“Our message is that science is a single, unified, long-term enterprise in which basic science discoveries, and research accomplishments of applied science and engineering, are things to be admired in their own right that also, often unpredictably, lead to better jobs and better lives, new products and new industries.”

November 1st, 2013

KCFS Annual Membership Meeting


Kansas Citizens for Science

14th Annual Membership Meeting

Date: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013

Place: Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, (2nd floor)

1515 SW 10th Ave, Topeka

Exit to the West from I-70 on 10th St.  The library is on the south side of the street about a mile west of I-70.

Time: 2:00 pm

Bring your checkbook and renew your membership.

The agenda will include:

  • election of officers and board for 2014
  • a review of our activities for the last year
  • a chance for members to help set our priorities for 2014

Light refreshments will be served.

Bring a friend or better yet, bring two.

October 31st, 2013

Johnson County Science Café : November 5th

Arboriculture 101

Speakers: Jeff Sifrit, ISA Certified Arborist for K.C. Arborist Tree Care

Date: November 5, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Join Jeff for an evening discussing all things about trees: selection, planting, care, pruning and anything else you want to talk about. With Pine Wilt Disease taking its toll and the Emerald Tree Borer now in Kansas City, not to mention the lingering effects of drought, there should be plenty to discuss.

Jeff is K.C. Arborist’s Operation’s Manager and consulting arborist with over 18 years of experience in the green industry. As an ISA Certified Arborist MW-4842A, Jeff specializes in consulting with both residential and commercial clients and identifying their individual tree care needs. He is also a Missouri Certified Pesticide Applicator (#c16353) and was amongst the first Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (#415) in the state of Kansas in 2009. Jeff’s passion has made him grow exponentially in his knowledge of trees, plants, shrubs, diseases and everything arboriculture related. He loves sharing his knowledge and educating the community to help Kansas City stay at its’ healthiest level.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

October 11th, 2013

Congratulations to KCFS’s own Phil Baringer

KU physicists involved with ‘God particle’ receive $1.78 million grant

Kansas City Star

University of Kansas researchers who this week celebrated their role in science that won the Nobel Prize for physics are recipients of a $1.78 million grant to keep their work going.

Physicists from KU were involved in building and operating the Higgs particle detector, a 100-megapixel camera that weighs several thousand tons and takes pictures 40 million times per second. Because of the radiation it is exposed to, the device will have to be replaced in a few years. KU is part of the team designing the replacement, said Philip Baringer, a KU professor of physics and astronomy.

Aside from helping the work KU’s scientists are doing at the collider, the grant is intended to support research on cosmic ray physics and cover some of the costs of educating a new crop of physicists at the university.

“You can think of this grant as helping to train the next generation of scientists,” Baringer said.