Join us Thursday, April 20, at 7 pm PT for a free NightSchool livestream!

We’re digging deep — and coming back with cores. Do the layers in these long cylinders of ice, soil, wood, or diatomaceous deep-sea sediment hold secrets about our planet’s past, present, and future? Of *cores* they do. Our guests for this episode:

• Dr. Maegan Rochner: Tree rings contain so much more than a tree’s age. Dendrochronologist (aka tree-ring scientist) Maegan Rochner will introduce us to the basics of tree-ring science and its various applications, ranging from anthropology and climate science to environmental history. By exploring patterns in tree rings hidden in forests, structures, and artifacts, we’ll develop a deeper understanding of how — and what — trees can teach us about the past.

• Dr. Elizabeth Sibert: While it’s impossible to know exactly how marine ecosystems will respond to global changes, lessons from the past can help scientists to better predict the future. By studying cores that contain tiny fossil teeth and minute scales from million-year old fishes, Elizabeth Sibert explores this question, examining how fish and sharks species fared over the past 80 million years across previous mass extinctions and global climate change events.

• Dr. Claudia Christine Avila: Soil gets kind of a dirty rep, but real earth-lovers know it’s not just a source of nutrients — it’s an ecosystem that offers a window into environments on an atomic scale. Using cores of soil, biogeochemist Claudia Christine Avila conducts research on how carbon moves through ecosystems. She’ll share with us why and how she uses cores to understand soils, and the many ecosystem functions they provide.

All NightSchool virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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November 30th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 60,000 live animals.

December 7th at 6:00 pm

Santa Claude is comin’ to town! Shop your heart away at our merry marketplace of gift-worthy treasures.

December 14th at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy.