Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum

Saturday with a Scientist

Join us for our first Saturday with a Scientist! These weekend events will feature researchers, scientists, and other professionals working in various fields and highlight topics focusing on physical and biological sciences.These events are great for the entire family!


October 14, 2017: 1PM AT BIG MEADOWS WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT: Tina M. Touchstone, Utility Systems Repairer-Operator Supervisor, Shenandoah National Park. Waste Not, Want Not.  Ever wonder how waste treatment works? Come tour a Class II Wastewater Treatment Plant located within Shenandoah National Park in the Big Meadows developed area. The tour will consist of a summary of where the sewage comes from, the treatment process used to stabilize the sewage, and how and where the park discharges its flow. The tour also includes an exhibition hallway where everyone will be able to see the treatment process up close, microscopes for getting up close and personal with “bugs” and microorganisms, and a walk out to the drying beds to show how solids are treated and disposed of. Come prepared for a walk and a one-of-a-kind field trip experience.


Big Meadows is located at approximately mile marker 51 on Skyline Drive and it includes a lodge, campground, picnic area, wayside store and the Byrd Visitor Center. The Big Meadows treatment plant is one of four wastewater treatment plants located in Shenandoah National Park and is rated the highest of the four as far as permitted flow that is processed. The location of the plant is as follows; Take the south entrance to Big Meadows Developed area and then take the first road to the left. This service road leads directly to the plant and everyone will enter the double glass doors in the front.


November 18, 2017, 10:30-11:30 AM: Amanda Sills, Associate Scientist, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. Impacts of Water Pollution

Come learn about the impacts of water pollution on larval fishes in rivers and streams, and the basics of identifying larval fishes. The talk will include an opportunity for hands-on experiences as well.


December 16, 2017, 10:30-11:30 AM: Native brook trout have survived in Appalachian streams for millions of years but now are threatened by land use and climate change. In this presentation, Dr. Hitt will discuss the ecological importance of this species, how they are influenced by water quality and temperature, and how their presence indicates healthy stream conditions. He also will discuss how conservation efforts are restoring this native species in Appalachia.


January 20, 2018, 10:30-11:30 AM: Dr. Stephanie Lessard-Pilon, Dive into the Deep: Exploring Earth’s Hidden Marine Ecosystems. Through a series of videos, images, and stories about working at sea, learn how scientists explore the bottom of the ocean, what kinds of amazing animals live there, and how to protect Earth’s most unexplored, fragile, and unique ecosystems.


Feb. 17, 2018, 10:30-11:30 AM


March 17, 2018, 10:30-11:30 AM


April 14, 2018, 10:30-11:30 AM:  Dr. Woody Bousquet, Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Shenandoah University. If Water Bugs Could Talk…What Would They Tell Us? Lives of Stream Insects Besides being fun to catch and watch, stream and river “bugs” (such as snails, crayfish, and insects) help scientists understand how clean or dirty the water is. Join Shenandoah University professor Woody Bousquet in observing and understanding the stories that water “bugs” can tell us.


May 12, 2018: 10:30-11:30 AM:P  Mark Zimmerman and Trout Unlimited.

Programs will start at 10:30 a.m. and run no longer than an hour. A full roster of exciting scientists and presenters will be forthcoming shortly.

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Phone: (540) 722-2020
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