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2011-12 Wittenberg Saturday Science Program Opens Oct. 22

October 19, 2011  
 Filed in Community, Events, Science

Springfield, Ohio – The 2011-12 Wittenberg Saturday Science program opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center with a presentation titled “Avian Altruism: Predator Mobbing” by Assistant Professor of Biology Richard Phillips.

Wittenberg Saturday Science is an outreach program started in January 2009 that exposes area high school and home-schooled students to science and its many possibilities. Nine academic departments – biology, chemistry, communication, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year.

While the format sometimes varies, programs normally feature a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. On Oct. 22, Phillips will discuss predator mobbing, a form of anti-predator strategy used by many animal species.

After a continental breakfast in the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors. Phillips will lead an activity in which participants will examine mobbing behavior in the context of evolution and then offer explanations for its occurrence. Students will also use binoculars and bird guides to identify common avian “mobbers” on Wittenberg’s campus and evaluate their response to predators and predator calls.

Phillips graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Wildlife Science and has worked on projects to understand the ecology of rattlesnakes, wild turkeys and Mexican wolves. At Wittenberg, Phillips teaches classes on evolution and ecology.

Wittenberg Saturday Science is funded by a grant from Future Jobs, a regional workforce development program. Wittenberg is a partner with Future Jobs, and University President Mark H. Erickson is a member of its board of directors.

There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. To register for the event, go to For more information, e-mails can be sent to

Written By: Ryan Maurer


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