Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



2015 Spring Community Lecture Series

Co-sponsored by the Smithsonian–Mason School of Conservation
Wednesday Evenings | April 1 – 29, 2015 | 7 p.m.
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Front Royal, Virginia


Bumble Bees: Their Diversity, Importance and Interactions with Parasites
Bumble bees are important pollinators of both wild and cultivated plants, contributing to seed and fruit production in our fields and forests as well as home gardens, row crops, and greenhouses. While all of our local species are readily recognizable as bumble bees, they are diverse in their ecology, including their interactions with parasites. In this talk, Dr. Roulston (curator of the State Arboretum of Virginia and an insect ecologist based at the University of Virginia's Blandy Experimental Farm, in Boyce, Virginia) will discuss the status of our bumble bee species and what is known about why some of our formerly common species are disappearing. He will also describe the battle between one particular parasite (a native conopid fly) and several species of bumble bees in which the bumble bee's immune system tries to suffocate the fly before the fly takes over the bee and causes it to dig its own grave.


The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Known as the "butcher bird" for its unique habit of impaling prey, the once common loggerhead shrike has experienced continent-wide declines. The last known sighting on SCBI property was in 1992 and estimates suggest that there could be as few as 100 birds remaining in Virginia. Warren Lynch, SCBI Biologist and Bird Programs Manager, will discuss one of SCBI's most recent conservation programs including the natural history, biology and behavior of this fascinating local native species.


How Feces Saves Species
Everything poops from rhinos to rattlesnakes! Come hear how Dr. Rachel Santymire (Lincoln Park Zoo, aka Dr. Poop) uncovers the truth behind animal behavior and physiology using feces. She uses these unobtrusive methods to figure out how the environment is impacting wildlife so that we can improve their management and conservation, both in zoos and the wild.


SCBI 40th Anniversary – Past, Present and Future
Join Dr. Steve Monfort, Director SCBI, as we celebrate Earth Day and the 40th anniversary of conservation science at SCBI Front Royal. Dr. Monfort will give an overview of the past, present and future activities that have shaped SCBI and added valuable scientific knowledge to the field of ecology, reproductive science, animal and veterinary care.


Understanding and Managing Free-Ranging Cats
Domestic cats (Felis catus) are a common household pet, but also considered amongst the 100 worst invasive species around the world. In particular, cats depredate wildlife, transmit disease, and threaten native species. Because cat numbers have been increasing in many locations, it is critical to understand and develop conservation and management solutions that work to reduce threats posed by cats. Using a variety of both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches Dr. Chris Lepczyk, from the University of Hawaii Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and his colleagues have worked to further our understanding of cats as well as evaluate management options by conducting work on cat diet, disease, predation, and socioeconomic approaches to management in Hawaii, the continental US, and throughout the world. Beyond basic findings of these studies, they have worked with agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to translate our findings to policy and management outcomes. Ultimately, the goal of their work is to not only inform conservation and management, but to help facilitate real world change on a tractable problem.


Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., April 1 - 29

The series is free and open to the public.
Seating is limited, so arrive early.

Lectures will be held at the SCBI's new campus
Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) Dining Hall
1500 Remount Rd
Front Royal, VA 22630

The SMSC Dining Hall will be open for dinner from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. on lecture dates. Please RSVP by email to jhalpin1@gmu.edu if you plan to come for dinner.


Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) Dining Hall
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630

From the east:

  • Take I-66 west to the Linden/Front Royal exit #13
  • At end of ramp, turn left, under freeway to stoplight at Route 55
  • Turn right (west) on Route 55 and travel five miles into Front Royal
  • Turn left at signal, Route 522/Remount Road
  • Drive approximately 2 miles and take a left into Gate 2 and follow event parking signs

From Rappahannock:

  • From US 211 take 522 north ~ 12 miles
  • Turn right into Gate 2 and follow event parking signs

For More Information

Contact the SCBI/FONZ Education Office by calling: (540) 635-6540
Contact the SCBI/FONZ Education Office by e-mail: SCBIeducation@si.edu