NEA Big Read Programing

“Virtual Books ‘n’ Bites” | Hosted by Vail Public Library

Join us! for this month’s Virtual Book Club via Zoom which will discuss this year’s NEA Big Read – One Book One Valley selected title “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren.

Email Lori Barnes at to receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting.

Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. She tells about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and the disappointments, triumphs and exhilarating discoveries of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

“Amazing Alice Eastwood” A virtual presentation with Dr. Steve Ruskin | Hosted by Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

When Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-author with Charles Darwin on the theory of evolution, came to Colorado in 1887, he wanted an expert to guide him to alpine plant locations. Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), the self-taught high school teacher in Denver, was the best there was. She wrote a guide to the flora of the Denver area in 1890, and, afterward, began extending her field observations to other parts of Colorado and then onward to California. Eastwood became the herbarium curator for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in 1891 where she remained until she voluntarily retired at the age of 90. Alice is most famous for her daring act of rescuing the type specimens of California plants – those that are the defining ones for a species – from the wreckage and fire of the 1906 earthquake.

Click HERE to register in advance!

Steve Ruskin is an award-winning historian of astronomy, with a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books, articles, chapters, and reviews, including the #1 Amazon Bestseller, ‘America’s First Great Eclipse.’. He was a visiting researcher at Cambridge University, England, on a grant from the National Science Foundation, and is an alumnus of the LaunchPad Astronomy Workshop. He currently serves as the moderator of HASTRO-L, the long-running history of astronomy listserv, and is on the Board of Advisors for the National Space Science & Technology Institute. A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, he occasionally writes science fiction and has also been a mountain bike guide on Pikes Peak, and a number of things in between.

“OBOV – STEM Family Event” with Girls in Science Coordinator, Christy Belardo, and STEM Curiosity Lab Coordinator, Chelsea Brisson | Hosted by Walking Mountains Science Center

Does your child like to build and design things? In partnership with One Book One Valley, Walking Mountains has a CHALLENGE for you – if you choose to accept it!

Join us as you and your child BUILD your own protective egg sled together – can it survive the CRASH?! This event will challenge you and a child to put your heads together and use critical thinking, engineering creativity, and hands-on construction skills. Join us for a family-friendly, STEM-filled Saturday afternoon! During the workshop, you will construct an egg sled out of a given set of materials. This egg sled should protect the egg as it slides down a hillside with structure and comfort! After construction, we will test out our sleds outside on a hillside on campus. Will it survive the ride?!

STEM Family Fun is being offered as part of Eagle Valley’s One Book One Valley community event. This year One Book One Valley has received a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant and has selected the book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. Since Lab Girl is about a woman scientist this community event gives kids and their adults a chance to practice their hands-on STEM skills and consider potential career opportunities.

This program requires pre-registration and is limited to 8 families. The activity is designed to challenge the minds of 4th-8th graders and bring out the curious child in you!

Click HERE to register in advance!

This event is hosted by Walking Mountains’ Girls in Science Coordinator, Christy Belardo, and STEM Curiosity Lab Coordinator, Chelsea Brisson. In Walking Mountains’ afterschool programs Christy and Chelsea challenge their students to apply their critical thinking, problem-solving, and STEM knowledge. This free program offers parents and their children to take on a challenge together.

“Saving the Alpine One Seed at a Time” – Virtual Presentation with Gardens’ Conservation Scientist, Emily Griffoul | Hosted by Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

You think alpine plants are small? You should see the seeds! Emily plans to introduce you to the intricacies of conserving the alpine through the plants that are the backbone of this fragile ecosystem.

Click HERE to register in advance.

Emily Griffoul is Betty Ford Alpine Gardens’ Conservation Scientist. She is leading the implementation of the Gardens’ North American Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation to promote understanding and protection of vulnerable alpine species and habitats through ex-situ collections, surveys and mapping of alpine areas, collaborations with partners in other gardens and federal agencies, and engaging with the public. She collects seed for preservation and propagation and surveys the alpine areas in Colorado with rare and endangered plants to develop understanding of the alpine and identify and address threats. 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17 | 6 p.m.
“Adventures in the Life of a Field Ecologist” A Virtual Presentation with Dr. Chris Ray, CU-Boulder | Hosted by Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Ray has been out in the field capturing pikas and counting birds among other things. Adventure is a word that includes triumphs and mishaps of any fieldwork. She will entertain us with some of the ups and downs of spending time in some of the most fragile and changing ecosystems.

Ray studies and models the dynamics of plant and animal populations, focusing especially on threatened species with fragmented populations. Her long-term project involves research on the American Pika, a species most impacted by alpine climate change. Other recent projects include modeling bird population trends in National Parks of the Pacific Northwest, analyzing how plant community assembly is affected by ecological interactions among species, and modeling the dynamics of plague in prairie dog communities. She emphasizes outreach and education in connection with her research, mentoring students at all levels and acting as a scientific advisor for citizen science projects focused on the American pika, such as the Front Range Pika Project organized by the Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild.

Click HERE to register in advance!

THURSDAY, APRIL 1 | 5:30 p.m.
“Ute Culturally Modified Trees” A Virtual Presentation with Lynn Albers, Library Associate – Local History and Ethnobotany Specialist | Hosted by Vail Public Library

Learn about living artifacts from the Ute traditional way of life. A culturally modified tree (CMT) is a tree that has been altered by an indigenous people for a specific purpose. Verified as an ancient worldwide tradition, cultural modification of trees includes inner tree bark use for food, ceremony, medicine, and practical utilitarian purposes. Distinctively peeled Colorado ponderosa pines are rare, yet impermanent, reminders of the Ute way of life.

This event will take place via Zoom Meeting. No registration required.

Meting ID:


SATURDAY, APRIL 17 | 10 a.m.
Virtual Author Event with Hope Jahren

Meet Hope Jahren and discuss her book.

APRIL 19-23
Earth Day Seed Exchange | A partnership between the TOV Environmental Sustainability Department and Vail Public Library

Come by the Vail Public Library, during library open hours, and pick up your choice of complementary wildflower or vegetable seeds and planting kit to celebrate Earth Day!  Let your inner botanist shine as you plant, nourish and observe your seeds as they grow into wildflowers or vegetables!

Restore the Gore Volunteer Tree Planting | Hosted by OV Environmental Sustainability Department

Come participate in a volunteer riparian restoration project by planting trees with the Town of Vail’s Watershed Education Coordinator, Pete Wadden while learning about the Restore the Gore initiative. Tools and instructions will be provided. More information, including the date and time, will be announced in early spring.

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