Find a spot on the grass, grab a brew and engage in the environment during “The Nature Talks” at Moustache Brewing in Riverhead. The casual lecture series features a different speaker every session delivering an ecological multimedia presentation as the crowd picnics.
“We thought it would be interesting to give these scientists an opportunity to present their research to the public,” says Lauri Spitz, co-owner of Moustache Brewing. “Beer is usually a good way to get people out for something.”
Here’s a calendar of what talks are on tap for the summer:
JUNE 21: Alaskan wildlife
Nature photographer Chris Paparo, manager of the Marine Science Center for Stony Brook University in Southampton who started the lecture series, will deliver a talk about his recent trip to Alaska.
“I’ll be showing pictures of whales, dolphins, sea lions and eagles — just the whole experience of being in the wilderness in Alaska,” Paparo says. “I try to get people to slow down and have an awareness of the world around us.”
JUNE 28: Bats
Lecturer Maria Brown of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences asks the question, “Have you thanked a bat today?” Her talk will be based on the ecosystem services that bats provide to humans.
“Bats get a bad rap. They won’t fly at you and we have nothing that they are interested in,” Brown says. “Bats are insect eaters, pollinators and they contribute a lot to products that we eat and drink, like tequila.”
JULY 13: Fish brain
Matt Siskey, a research assistant and doctoral student at Stony Brook University, will discuss otoliths, a small oval structure found in the brain cavity of fish that functions as part of the inner-ear system, and how they are useful to scientists.
“It helps us increase the scope of how we assess and manage the fish,” Siskey says. “They grow in these rings, kind of like a tree does, so we can use them to age a fish. They also deposit a chemical fingerprint of the water the fish were in.”
JULY 19: Going strawless
Andrew Brosnan, chairman of the Surf Rider Foundation — East End Long Island chapter, will promote “The Strawless Summer” campaign by getting restaurants to pledge not to use plastic straws because of their negative effect on the environment.
“Billions of straws go into the waste stream and end up in the ocean, creating issues,” Brosnan says. “It stimulates the conversation about plastics in general. What do we need? What can we do without? What can we use alternatively?”
AUG. 2: LI’s agriculture
The Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, which is a branch of Cornell University, will be the focus of the lecture from farm supervisor Mark Sisson, who has been working there since 1971.
“I want people to get an appreciation for the agricultural industry on Long Island,” Sisson says. “There are more craft breweries and wineries in Suffolk County than there are in any other county in the United States.”
AUG. 16: Ticks
Being outdoors in the summer can be a tricky business when it comes to grappling with ticks. But Tamson S. Yeh, turf and land management specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County in Riverhead, will deliver a quick tick education.
“We want people to leave with a better understanding of the biology of the tick,” Yeh says. “It’s important to know what they look like in order to identify them and how to select and use a repellent. Additionally, I will demonstrate the proper way to remove ticks and dispose of them.”
AUG. 30: Shinnecock Bay
Paul Tompkins, a senior postdoctoral associate at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, will discuss the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Project, which is an effort to monitor the water quality and ecosystem functions of Shinnecock Bay.
“I think people will be amazed by the effect it’s had on the restoration of the fisheries,” Tompkins says. “We’ve had commercial clammers telling us last year was the best year they ever had.”
‘THE NATURE TALKS’
WHEN | WHERE 8-9:30 p.m. June 21 and 28, July 13 and 19, Aug. 2, 16 and 30, Moustache Brewing, 400 Hallett Ave. in Riverhead
INFO 631-591-3250, moustachebrewing.com