Current Events

Hefner Lecture 2020

Hefner Museum's iNaturalist BioBlitz

If you are looking for a fun, socially distanced, all-ages activity, you might enjoy the Hefner Museum's iNaturalist BioBlitz. This is an easy app for any age or knowledge level that allows you to look at the nature in your neighborhood in a scientific way. Simply take a picture of any kind of organism then, using artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing, you can identify that organism and record your observations in a way that makes them scientifically useful.

To participate, visit

Community results will be discussed at the 46th annual Hefner Lecture, along with recognition of productive contributors, and the importance of citizen science data. The Lecture "From evolving dragonflies to invading lanternflies: how your observations can lead to amazing discoveries," by Dr. Michael P. Moore and Dr. Carrie Seltzer will show how observations like yours make a difference to our understanding of the world.

You can start submitting your observations today. The unique, all-ages lecture will be presented digitally October 21 at 6:30pm. The technical seminar on October 22nd at 4:15, presented by Dr. Michael P. Moore, will also be presented digitally. Information on how to join the presentations will be posted to the Museum web page and shared via email in the coming weeks.

Dr. Michael P. Moore is a Biodiversity Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Moore’s research addresses why some organisms are better than others at adapting to their habitats. In his current studies, Dr. Moore is using citizen-science observations of dragonflies to explore how warmer climates affect mating, reproduction, and color. Read more about his work here:

carrie-seltzer-8-2019.jpgDr. Carrie Seltzer is the Stakeholder Engagement Strategist at iNaturalist, a social network where people explore nature through sharing photos of biodiversity, crowdsource species identifications, and use artificial intelligence to jumpstart the identification process. By engaging people all over the world in sharing observations and expertise, the iNaturalist community has generated one of the largest, openly accessible datasets of biodiversity records that is used extensively in research and management.

We look forward to your digital participation in the BioBlitz and the Lecture!

image of bird study skin volunteers prepare for educational purposes

The Hefner Museum hosts a program and you can be a part of it. On Tuesdays, any interested person over 18 years old, including students and community members, is invited to come to the Museum to try their hand at taxidermy. We request an RSVP so we can have carcasses ready. The average person takes 2 to 4 hours on their first skin, with rapid acceleration after that. Few people make a perfect specimen on their first try—don't worry about failure, the first rule is to never lose hope. Once trained, taxidermy volunteers may have the chance to make their own schedules on other days.

image of Bishop Woods floraThe buildings of Miami University are framed by trees. Campus as a whole has a large and diverse living tree collection. We want to know what you think about these trees through this survey:

Trees of Miami Survey

This study is being conducted by student researchers working with the Hefner Museum of Natural History at Miami University. Participation in this research is restricted to persons 18 years of age or older.

Completing the survey should take no more than 5-10 minutes. Your participation is voluntary, you may skip questions you do not want to answer, and you may stop at any time. The survey does not request information that would explicitly identify you. If you inadvertently include identifying information, such information will be removed from stored data. Only the researchers will have access to individual responses. Results of the survey will only be presented publicly as aggregate summaries.

If you have any questions about this research or you feel you need more information to complete this survey, you can contact the faculty advisors:

Steve Sullivan,, 513-529-4617

Ginny Boehme,, 513-529-1726

If you have questions or concerns about the rights of research subjects, you may contact our reviewing body: the Research Ethics and Integrity Office at Miami University at 513-529-3600 or