From Fur to Feather & All That’s in Between, the Animal Kingdom is a Wild, Wonderful, and Sometimes Wacky World!

Giraffe with nerd glasses looks at the camera

June Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Joan Hemker & Jacqueline Poepping

Get ready for a wild ride through the animal kingdom, where fur, feathers, and everything in-between come together in a fantastic fusion of fluff and finesse! From the sleek fur of prowling predators to the soft feathers of soaring birds, we’re exploring the diverse coverings that make each creature unique.

More on Hemker Zoo: What started as a modest dream in 1977 has expanded to offer families intimate encounters with over 75 different species from across the world. Hemker Park & Zoo’s mission is to showcase and promote animal species while fostering environmental conservation through collaborative partnerships and effective wildlife management strategies. The zoo is dedicated to conveying the marvel and significance of conservation, as well as the vital role animals play in our ecosystem. Visitors can anticipate gaining insights about our planet and enjoying the company of over 200 animals that reside at Hemker Park & Zoo.

Pour Genius: Unveiling the Art & Science of Cider Making

June Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Peter Gillitzer

Co-founder of Milk & Honey Ciders, Peter Gillitzer, will discuss how cider making experts turn delicious apples into sparkling hard cider.

Navigating the Caregiving Journey: Understanding the Stages of Dementia Caregiving & Anticipatory Grief

Black and white image of two aging adults holding hands

May Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Tami Kolbinger & Cristina Rodriguez

No single caregiver’s journey is the same when taking care of a loved one with dementia. Join D-CAN to get a better understanding of the stages of dementia caregiving and a discussion about anticipatory grief which can occur before the loss of the person who you are providing care.

Stop the Bleed

White first aid kit with red cross sits in front of a blue background

May Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Kevin Peine

Bleeding is the number one killer of trauma patients. A person can die in 3-5 minutes, and it takes First Responders an average of 7 minutes to arrive in urban settings and even longer in rural and remote areas. Stop the Bleed is a training program that teaches civilians with little to no medical training to be immediate responders when tragedy strikes and someone needs bleeding control interventions. The skills taught in Stop the Bleed are the same skills that are utilized by combat troops to keep their buddies alive until help arrives.

Reenvisioning Aumakua & Huna: Spirituality & Spirit Animals of Hawaii

Sea turtle floats just under the surface of the ocean water with coral below

April Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Rebecca Woods

Rooted in indigenous wisdom, Hawaiian spirituality emphasizes harmony with nature, interconnectedness, and the cultivation of inner wisdom. In her presentation, Rebecca will discuss the belief system she was raised with from the age of two that is founded on these ideals. This New Age philosophy was born from Hawaiian spiritual beliefs and merged with scientific inquiry on the brain and body at that time. Through this exploration, we can gain insights into the holistic nature of human experience, where spirituality, neuroscience, and contemplative practices intersect to nurture well-being and understanding.

Fly Fishing: A Nerd’s Passport to Sophistication

April Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Steven Wilson

Flyfishing is often associated with wealth, a bit of magic, and trips to western trout streams. However, fly fishing works for more than just trout. In fact, most fish species found in Minnesota can be caught using fly fishing equipment. In his presentation, Steven will outline the basics for wading into the sport.

No March Nerd Nite

Puppy with glasses looks sad

Hacking AI – How to Defend Yourself Against the AI Apocalypse

Profile of human-looking android

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Evan Pederson

Given the inevitable AI apocalypse how does one stay ahead against a malevolent omnipotent machine? Let’s discuss some conceptual tools that can be used to fight against a rogue AI, or cause one. The topics covered shall be a light introduction to AI, light introduction to cybersecurity, hardware and software injection attacks against AI, and some other attack type vectors that can be used against AI. If there is a time a demo shall be given. 

Playing with Fire: Wood-Fired Ceramics

Two tan and cream-colored wood-fired ceramic cups with geometric etchings sit atop a wooden surface.

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Melissa Gohman

Delve into the fascinating world of clay with Melissa Gohman as she shares her enriching experience in building and firing a wood-fired soda kiln. Melissa, an art teacher with over 20 years experience, has specialized in ceramic sculpture and pottery since earning her BFA and Master’s degrees in ceramics from SCSU. She’ll discuss the intricate processes that artists employ to craft stunning pottery and sculptures from raw clay to finished masterpieces. Gain insights into the unique challenges and joys of working with this traditional firing technique and explore the artistry and craftsmanship behind the magic of ceramic sculpture and pottery.

Porn’s Relationship to Exploitation*

Woman's face from lips to chin with bright red lipstick and white blond hair

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Bri Cornell

Our society paints pornography as being an empowering tool for people to explore and embrace their sexuality. There are so many categories, options, and things to make you feel good. Right? Not exactly. In this presentation, Bri will unpack the problematic ideas that porn is empowering for performers and that they make so much money they don’t know what to do with it. We will also talk about the realities performers face in the sex industry and how those are linked with human trafficking, which is one of the world’s largest human rights issues.

*Content warning, as some of the topics presented can be triggering and are not suitable for kiddos.