Brattleboro Lecture Series

Spring 2015 Lectures: Beginning April 6, 2015
The Biology of the Insects & The Movies and Ourselves

The Biology of the Insects
Presented by Bob Engel

Insects are the only multicellular animals that compete effectively with humans. They eat our crops, denude our yards, kill our forest trees, change whole ecosystems, sting and bite us, and faithfully infect us with all manner of lethal microorganisms. But they also pollinate our crops, keep flowering communities functional, delight us with their beauty, and contain societies that seem to function better than our own. In these talks, we will see how beings with a nervous system a millionth the size of our own are able to beat us at our own game, surviving and even thriving beside us when other species are in retreat.

Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to Noon

  • April 6: What is an insect? Major insect groups. Insect evolution.
  • April 13: How insects thrive in extreme conditions. Are some insects warm-blooded?
  • April 20: Insect nervous systems and behavioral abilities.
  • April 27: Love among the insects. Insects’ prodigious reproductive capacities.
  • May 4: Insect societies: their distribution, origin, and function.
  • May 11: Insects and men. Insects as human disease vectors. Insects and agriculture.

Bob Engel describes himself as a naturalist who understands a good experiment. He retired from the Marlboro College faculty in 2013, having served there since 1975, teaching everything from animal ethics to evolutionary biology. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in biology.

The Movies and Ourselves
Presented by Rick Winston

During these six weeks, we’ll be considering many aspects of film: how motion pictures are conceived and made, how they attain the status of classics, how they reflect their times, and what impact they have on both audiences and other filmmakers. We’ll learn about the contributions of directors, editors, cinematographers, and composers, and ultimately we’ll sharpen our awareness of the many facets of the “seventh art.”

Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

  • April 6: Classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age: Why do so many old films fail the test of time while a few are rediscovered by each generation of moviegoers? We look at some of the elements of classic motion pictures.
  • April 13: Classic films of the 1950s: The 1950s were a fascinating time for Hollywood films. We’ll consider several directors and actors who thrived in the Fifties.
  • April 20: Influential films of the 1960s: The Sixties was not only a time of political and cultural upheaval; it was a time for groundbreaking films that were affected by the turmoil of the era and themselves contributed to changing attitudes.
  • April 27: Movies about movies. We’ll look at a wide range of films—comedies, dramas, romances, and thrillers—that take place behind the scenes on a movie set.
  • May 4: Three influential directors: Bergman, Fellini, and Kurosawa. In the Fifties and Sixties, these three directors stood out for their influence on American filmmakers and their popularity with American audiences. We’ll examine excerpts from their key films.
  • May 11: Music and the movies. We’ll look—and listen to—excerpts of some memorable film scores, with special attention to well-known collaborations (Fellini and Nino Rota, Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, Truffaut and Georges Delerue) and to directors such as Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick, who use already existing music to great effect.

Rick Winston, an instructor and lecturer on film history, grew up in New York and was educated at Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley. He was a co-owner of the Savoy Theater in Montpelier for thirty years, and is a founder of the Green Mountain Film Festival. Currently he is a regular speaker for the Vermont Humanities Council.

Membership Information

Payment of $50 membership dues entitles subscribers to attend all twelve OLLI sessions during spring 2015. Couples are welcome to join as full members at a discounted rate of $80.

Please note our additional level of membership: Payment of $30 partial membership dues entitles subscribers to attend all six OLLI sessions during either the morning or the afternoon. Couples are welcome to join at a discounted rate of $50. Lectures are also open to nonmembers for a fee of $6 per lecture.

Light refreshments will be served at all lectures.

To download your membership form click here.

For membership, complete the form above and send with your $50/$80 full membership fee or $30/$50 partial membership fee (payable to “The University of Vermont”) to:

UVM OLLI Registration Office
322 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

For information on cancellations and rescheduling, please listen to WTSA radio (96.7 FM); call (802) 257-8600 or toll-free (866) 889-0042; consult; or call the organizers at (802) 387-5387 or (802) 257-7623. For general information on the Brattleboro OLLI chapter, use the first two numbers above.


The Learning Collaborative is located just north of Brattleboro on Route 5 between Vermont Exits 3 and 4 of Interstate 91. We are 1.8 miles north of the rotary at Exit 3 (Brattleboro) and 4.1 miles south of Exit 4 (Putney). Look for a single-story brick building on the west side of the road. Parking and entry are at the back of the building. Handicapped-accessible parking, ramp, and door are available on the north side of the building.

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.

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Coming This Fall!

Quebec Wine & Cheese Tour
Thursday, September 24, 2105
8am - 5pm