2022 Winter Intersession

The 2022 Winter Intersession, given between semesters, offers retirees and those semi-retired a sample of LIRA’s almost year-round program and friendly community. The program is planned and much of it provided by the members themselves. The general public is invited to all Winter Intersession programs.

All classes will be running online using Zoom. You will be getting the invites via email before the beginning of the programs.


The following programs will run on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – noon unless otherwise specified:

Jan. 5: Banding Northern Saw-whet Owls at Lookout Rock
Presenter and coordinator: Bob Stevens*

How do you catch and band a Saw-whet Owl that flies only in the woods at night? What is a Saw-whet owl anyhow? Are they around here? Bob Stevens banded Saw-whet owls for ten years and will talk about their migration and the process of banding Saw-whet Owls as well as their special features for hunting at night.


Jan. 12: The Behavior of Cephalopods (Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish)
Presenter: Millersville University Professor Jane Boal

Professor Emerita, Biology, Jean Boal, Ph.D. Millersville University in Pennsylvania will introduce us to the ocean animals she studies and explain her research into their behavior. These animals are in the Cephalopoda class containing squids, cuttlefish and octopus.

Coordinator: Beverly Rudeen*


Jan. 19: The Wyeths: An American Artistic Dynasty
Presenter: Jane Oneail

The Wyeth family of artists is known for their somber realism and subtle storytelling. This program will explore the style of painting and illustration established by N.C.Wyeth in the early 1900s and passed on and re-interpreted by his children, primarilyAndrew Wyeth, and his grandson Jamie Wyeth. Learn more about their favorite
subjects, their influences and their enduring impact in the art world.

Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*


Jan. 24 (Monday), 10 a.m. - noon: Volcanos
Presenter: UMass Lowell Assistant Professor Richard Gaschnig

Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places on Earth and this year experienced a significant eruption at Fagradalsfjall, near the capital city of Reykjavik. Dr. Gaschnig visited Iceland and witnessed the eruption in May and will talk about this experience and the unique aspects of the Fagradalsfjall eruption, along with a more general discussion of the geology of Iceland, including the geologic causes of its prolific volcanism.

Coordinator: Bob Stevens*


Jan. 26 (Wednesday): Cool Science
Presenter: Jill Hendrickson Lohmeier

Associate Professor Lohmeier will discuss her work in Informal Science Education about Climate Change and Extreme Weather. She is a Primary Investigator for a National Science Foundation project, “Cool Science: Art as a Vehicle for Intergenerational Learning” (coolscience.net). She will also discuss her experience and what she learned at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP 26 in Glasgow.

Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*


Feb. 2: Green Fertilizer
Presenters: Visal Veng, Benard Tabu, Samuel Alpert

Green Fertilizer is an idea developed by a team of three graduate students pursuing doctoral studies in the Energy Engineering Program at UMass Lowell. The technology produces nitrogen fertilizer from air and water using solar energy and delivers it on demand. This fulfills an increasing need for nitrogen fertilizer at a low cost, distributed manner, while mitigating nitrogen pollution and vast amounts of carbon dioxide CO2 emissions commonly associated with the conventional fertilizer production approaches. Technology is significantly relevant to (i) developing countries which endure high cost of fertilizer and food shortage and (ii) developed countries which suffer nitrogen runoff as the results of over application of fertilizer. Our team wishes to present our thoughts, technology ideas, and accomplishments to LIRA to help express our support for the community and how the LIRA supports our goals for an environmentally friendly and sustainable future as we strive to make the world a better place for everyone. The team won the “Commitment for a Sustainable Environment" award [1] as part of the UMass Lowell RIST DifferenceMaker program in 2021. Learn more about Green Fertilizer.

Coordinator: Sally Coulter*


Feb. 9: (Wednesday), 1 - 3 p.m.: Mount Washington Observatory: Home of the World's Worst Weather
Presenters: Staff of the Mount Washington Observatory

Why is Mt. Washington called the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather”? This program will explore the unique life and work of the weather observers stationed on Mt. Washington and learn why, for a mountain its size, Mt. Washington hosts some of the worst weather on Earth.

Coordinator: James Rutter*


Feb. 16: Turner’s Modern World
Presenter and Coordinator: Bruce Magnuson*

Turner's Modern World-The British artist JMW Turner's career spanned the tumultuous changes of Europe in the early to mid 1800's. We will explore the art and times of Turner and his revolutionary idea of painting contemporary scenes. From 3/27/2022-7/10/2022 the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will be the final stop for the exhibition "Turner's Modern World." This LIRA session will provide a context of Turner and his place in the pantheon of Western Art. Hopefully also whetting the appetite for those who may want to visit the exhibition while it is here in Boston.


Feb. 23: Japanese Dolls and the Friendship Exchange and “All About Ginny”
Presenter: Rebecca Rudranath

Rebecca Rudranath is a doll collector and has been a member of a local UFDC (United Federation Of Doll Clubs) chapter. She has been a speaker at several doll club meetings in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Rebecca will present two one-hour talks for us about dolls. Her first talk will be about the Friendship Exchange created after WWI between Japan and the United States. During the second hour she will speak about the Ginny Doll manufactured in Massachusetts from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

Coordinator: Beverly Rudeen*


Feb. 25 (Friday), 10 a.m. – noon: Railroads in the Western USA
Presenter: Kevin Standlee

While the history of the building of the first transcontinental railroad and the driving of the Golden Spike are well-known and will be covered in this talk, railroads are still a modern, active technology, vital to modern society, even when it is not that obvious. Our speaker has traveled by train extensively and is an avid railroad enthusiast who will talk first about how we got that first railroad link between the US west coast and the rest of the country back in the 1860s and then about how that line and the others that connect east and west are a still an important, if often invisible, part of keeping our modern world supplied and running.

Coordinator: Lisa Hertel*

* Indicates a LIRA member.