Springfield Lecture Series

Fall 2017 (September-December)

Naturalist Kurt Valenta adds beaver “adaptations” to Springfield OLLI member, Marjory Pierce, to demonstrate the many special structures that a beaver has to be considered “Nature’s Superb Engineer.”

Naturalist Kurt Valenta adds beaver “adaptations” to Springfield OLLI member, Marjory Pierce, to demonstrate the many special structures that a beaver has to be considered “Nature’s Superb Engineer.”

Programs are held at 2 pm Tuesday afternoons at the Nolin Murray Center, next to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 40 Pleasant Street, Springfield, Vermont 05156.

For weather related schedule changes, check the website. Under Statewide, choose courses and programs, then scroll to Springfield. Also check SAPA TV, 802-885-6248, Comcast Channels 8 & 10, and VTel Cable Channels 1160 & 1161.

SO CLOSE TO HOME

September 5

Michael Tougias, NY Times Bestselling Author

Hear a dramatic presentation based on Tougias’ co-authored book So Close to Home which tells an American family’s World War II story of survival after a U-boat attacked them. On May 19, 1942 a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey, the freighter Heredia, 50 miles off New Orleans, then torpedoed the ship. More than half the crew and passengers perished; but incredibly, after 15 hours in the ocean – facing sharks, hypothermia, drowning and dehydration – all the members of the Downs family survived and were reunited. See slides of the attack, the survivors, and the rescue to make this ‘an edge-of-your-seat’ story.

THE OWL: SILENT PREDATOR OF THE NIGHT CO-SPONSORED BY THE ASCUTNEY MOUNTAIN AUDUBON SOCIETY

September 12

Kurt Valenta, Naturalist, Educator, Founder of Exordium, a Nature & Outdoor Education Organization

Take a close-up look at one of the most relentless predators of the skies. The owl, imbued with a mystical reputation, silent in flight and having unrivalled hearing and sight, can hunt in total darkness, catching prey with uncanny consistency. From very small to quite large, owls live from the northern climes of the Arctic and the heat of deserts to the shadows of the great forests. We will parse fact from fantasy as we gain a better understanding of this majestic bird.

BIG BANDS: WHEN SWING WAS KING

September 26

Erik Nielsen, Professional Composer

Before the Beatles, before Elvis and Chuck Berry, came Swing. During the pre-World War II years, big band music was the most popular music in America, with millions of fans. Why was it so big during the Depression, and why did it die so soon after the end of World War II? Listen as Composer Erik Nielsen will play music of the era, including such stars as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and others, and learn about what led to the rise of big bands and to Swing’s demise. Prepare to be swept away by the energy and musical vitality of this music that still makes an impact today

AIRPLANES OF WORLD WAR II

October 10

Bruce Johnson, Aviation Historian

Explore the development of the airplane as a tool of warfare from the years between the World Wars and through the accelerated development of the war years. The uses of the airplane in the execution of the grand strategies of both the Allies and the Axis powers led to successes and failures. The contrasting development of bombers, fighters, transport and various support uses will be a primary focus of the presentation as will the men and women who flew these machines into the history books. From Curtiss Jenny and Piper Cub to B-29 Superfortress, P-51 Mustangs and Messerschmitt Me-262, we will trace the progress of airplanes in the 1930s through the war years.

NEW ENGLAND POOR HOUSES AND TOWN FARMS

October 24

Steve Taylor, Farmer, Writer, Scholar of All Things Rural

From its earliest settlements New England has struggled with issues surrounding the treatment of its poor. The early Northeastern colonies followed the lead of England’s 1601 Poor Law, which imposed compulsory taxes for maintenance of the poor but made no distinction between the “vagrant, vicious poor” and the helpless and honest poor. This confusion persisted for generations and led directly to establishment in most of the states’ towns of alms houses and poor farms and, later, county institutions which would collectively come to form a dark chapter in New England history. Examine how paupers were treated in these facilities and how reformers eventually succeeded in closing them down.

THE BRAIN: HOW DOES IT WORK ANYWAY?

October 31

Robert Hamill, M.D., Prof. Emeritus of Neurological Science, University of Vermont

The sheer complexity of the human brain is staggering. We’ll take a look at new understandings of brain function and dysfunction plus evolving research techniques and strategies for improving brain health as we age. We’ll consider how the brain is influenced by all that we do and how we live.

PAINTING A NATION: AMERICAN ART AT SHELBURNE MUSEUM

November 14

Katie Wood Kirchhoff, Associate Curator, Shelburne Museum

American paintings were the last objects assembled by Shelburne Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb before she died in 1960. The collection is particularly strong in 19th-century portraits, landscapes, and genre paintings, and is distinctive because of the juxtaposition of academic paintings by formally trained artists with folk art paintings by self-taught artists. We will hear a discussion of the collection and its history, highlighting works by artists like John Singleton Copley, William Matthew Prior, Albert Bierstadt, Fitz Henry Lane, Andrew Wyeth, and others. Looking closely at selected paintings, we’ll discuss the formal relationships between academic and folk traditions and explore the methods artists used to tell their stories via the brush.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE HIDDEN TRUTH

November 28

Michael Atkinson, Prof. Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, Univ. of Cincinnati

Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the world’s most widely recognized cultural icon. But he himself is also a mystery to be solved. Investigating him can light up our entire cultural landscape. Was Holmes the ultimate rationalist or a secret mystic? a confirmed bachelor or a clandestine lover? Arthur Conan Doyle’s proudest creation or his unwelcome albatross? Come explore some surprising facets of this fascinating figure with Michael Atkinson, whose book The Secret Marriage of Sherlock Holmes won the coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

GOING DEEP: EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE WITH SPACE TELESCOPES

December 5

Mark Breen, Director the Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Planetarium at the Fairbanks Museum

For more than 25 years, scientists and the general public have been thrilled by images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Since then, a fleet of spacebased observatories have been exploring everything from our neighbors in the Solar System to the outer-most fringes of the universe. Each looks across the skies through a different window, using not just visible light, but radio waves, microwaves, ultra-violet radiation, and x-rays, gathering much more information than what our eyes can see. Share with Breen these deep space discoveries using a vast collection of fascinating images, and offering insights about the advancements in scientific understanding.

 

Membership Information

SEMESTER MEMBERSHIPS:

$45 for all 9 programs and admittance to the other Vermont Osher Institute Programs; Single program fee: $8

For membership, complete the form on the site brochure or this form and send with your payment to:

UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Make checks payable to: The University of Vermont

Become a member today!

Membership in the Springfield Osher Lifelong Learning Institute entitles members to attend programs in other Osher Institutes established in seven other locations throughout Vermont, as well as EEE-Burlington (Elder Education Enrichment). Your active OLLI membership also entitles you to the discounted member rate for the new OLLI on UVM campus programs. Simply present your membership card during the corresponding semester.

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

THANKS TO OUR LOCAL BENEFACTOR: BARBARA SANDERSON


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