Each year, the Moab Information Center—part of the Canyonlands Natural History Association—hosts a series of free lectures from spring to fall. The lectures have been going on for decades: Sharon Kienzle, who manages the MIC, said she has records of the events taking place long before she started at the MIC 12 years ago. 

“I just love getting together with the speakers,” she said. “And it’s always exciting to see people learn something.” 

The lectures draw a mix of locals and visitors, Kienzle said—the free events always take place on Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the MIC, and almost always relate to science. Many of the speakers return year after year—Joel Tuhy and Jodi Patterson, for example—and many others are local scientists with grants from the CNHA. The CNHA’s official mission is to “assist the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management in their education and visitor efforts”; a good way to do that is to host lectures hosted by scientists and park rangers about the goings-on of places that fall within those land management agencies. 

“Sometimes we reach out to people, sometimes people reach out to us,” Kienzle said. “It always just falls into place.” 

The lecture topics are currently decided through June. There will be two events in April: “Geology of Canyonlands” by National Park ranger and geologist Rhodes Smartt on April 13, which will explore how Canyonlands was formed; and “Wildflowers and Other Features of Hanging Gardens” by Joel Tuhy on April 27, which will explore how hanging gardens form in the local region. 

The events are “always a good time,” Kienzle said: “it’s very relaxed, and there’s lots of good information.” Each lecture runs for around 45 minutes. 

The other lectures currently scheduled are as follows: 

  • “Founding Fathers: The Creation of Canyonlands National Park” by National Park ranger Robert Anderson on May 4 
  • “Geology of Canyonlands” by Rhodes Smartt (a repeat) on May 11 
  • “The Civilian Conservation Corps and Erosion Control in the Spanish Valley” by Beth Karpinski on May 18 
  • “Fremont Keeps and Fortifications in Eastern Utah, an Aerial Perspective” by Jody Patterson on May 25 
  • “Moab is Sinking from a Wave of Incision” by Joel Pederson on June 1 

More information can be found on the CNHA website at www.cnha.org