Presentations

Wild Potpurri | Reptiles & Amphibians | Birds | Mammals | Insects | Prices

Jim and SnappyWILDLIFE PRESENTATIONS are available to audiences of all ages and can be tailored to any level. Emphasis is placed on Michigan’s living resources to allow participants to become more familiar with wildlife most likely encountered, and affected by our actions. Many feature live specimens available to the audience for close inspection. Presentations are available to cover an endless variety of wildlife topics. The list below features general wildlife subjects, with suggested areas of emphasis.

Contact Jim or Carol McGrath at Nature Discovery for pricing information at (517) 655-5349 or naturedisc87@gmail.com

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Wild Potpurri

The list below is so broad that many patrons have a difficult time deciding. The potpourri format calls on Nature Discovery to choose which wildlife to present over the hour with your group. The time of year and location in which we are presenting are considered in our choice of topics. Since we are especially renowned for our live reptiles and amphibians, some of these are always incorporated into the potpourri. We’ll also commonly choose at least one insect or other invertebrate, one bird, one mammal or fish, and possibly a wild plant to highlight.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Fox SnakeMichigan is home to 17 species of snakes, 10 turtles, 13 frogs & toads, 10 salamanders and 2 lizards. Nature Discovery maintains live specimens of most of these species for use in presentations and exhibits. These are often supplemented with color slides, audio recordings and other props. Presentation titles within this heading include:

  • R&A Sampler: You leave it to us to choose which reptile and amphibian species to highlight. The season and location of the presentation are considered in our choice of species.
  • Michigan Snakes: Our most popular presentation. Fears and misconceptions about snakes are addressed in addition to dissemination of sound information about snake biology and ecology. Individual species' habits and characteristics are discussed with inspection of live specimens. At presentation's end, all participants are encouraged to handle the snakes. Some can also be fed in front of audience on request.
  • Michigan Turtles: Live specimens and slides are used to help participants understand the biology and ecology of each species. Factors contributing to population declines are also discussed, in addition to what we can do to help in their survival. At the presentation's conclusion, handling of some of the specimens is permitted.
  • Michigan Frogs: Many of our state's frog populations are in serious decline due to a variety of factors. The Michigan DNR has instituted a volunteer-based annual frog survey to help monitor the population trends around the state. In order to participate, you must learn to identify each species by song. With live specimens, color slides and audio recordings from NatureDiscovery's CD, Frogs of the Great Lakes Region, participants become familiar with the breeding biology, range and habitat of each species.
  • Michigan Amphibians: Includes most of the information contained in the frogs presentation but expands to include discussion of salamanders. Members of this amphibian order are believed to be undergoing the same declines as frog populations, but due to their secretive nature, they are much more difficult to observe. Live specimens and slides are presented.

Birds

With over 300 species of breeding and migratory birds in the state, there is an abundance of interesting biological and ecological aspects to explore. Many topics are best suited to the season of the year in which the presentation is given, while others are altered to emphasize the season in which the presentation is given. All presentations involve color slides and audio recordings. Below is a sampling of avian presentation titles, but is by no means complete in its scope.

  • Backyard Birds
  • Feeding Birds
  • Winter Birds
  • Migration
  • Migratory Songbirds
  • Bird Nesting
  • Cavity Nesters
  • Bird Songs (Birding by Ear)
  • Birds of Prey
  • Owls, Hawks & Eagles
  • Waterfowl
  • Wetland Birds
  • Woodpeckers
  • Insect-easters
  • Swallows
  • Blackbirds
  • Cowbirds & Nest Parasitism
  • Attracting Bluebirds
  • Warblers & Vireos
  • Native Sparrows
  • Endangered & Extinct Michigan Birds

Mammals

The majority of Michigan’s 60 species of mammals are difficult to observe in the wild due to shy or nocturnal habits and seasonal limitations in activity. Color slides, skulls, and pelts are used to give participants a more intimate look at their lives. On occasion, some live small mammals are available for observation. A sample of titles includes:

  • Michigan Mammal Sampler
  • Backyard Mammals
  • Mammals in Winter
  • Nocturnal Mammals
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Rodents
  • Weasel Family
  • Carnivores
  • Mice, Voles & Shrews

Insects

The most abundant and diverse class of life on earth allows for a huge variety of topics to discuss. Here are a few popular topics in detail plus some other titles.

  • Michigan Butterflies: Learn about some common butterflies other than the well-known Monarch, including where and how to find them, what host plants their larvae eat, how they spend the winter, and other interesting aspects of their lives. Live and pinned specimens are available for close inspection in addition to color slides.
  • Michigan Moths: There are ten times more moth species in the world than butterflies, which allows for more variation in physical traits and survival strategies than their more popular day-flying kin. Meet some of Michigan's most impressive and interesting, but widely unknown species through inspection of live specimens, pinned specimens and color slides.
  • Michigan Butterflies & Moths: A potpourri of information gleaned from the two presentations above.
  • Finding & Rearing Giant Silk Moths: Some of our continent's largest, most impressive moths can be found right here in Michigan, yet many people can go years without encountering one. Becoming privy to their life cycles and behaviors greatly increases your changes of finding Cecropia, Polyphemus, Promethea and Luna Moths in any metamorphic stage. Larvae then, become easy to attain and successfully rear into adult moths. Color slides are enchanced with live adult moths and/or newly hatched larvae (June),larger larvae (July-Aug), or cocoons (Sept-May). With advance notice, newly hatched larvae (in June) can be distrubuted to participants to take home.
  • Insect Potpourri: A mix of insects with a seasonal slant. Live specimens and color slides accompany interesting information about their life histories, including metamorphosis and ecology.
  • Other Topics:
    • Insect Classification
    • How to Pin and Mount Insects for Display
    • The Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps & Ants)
    • The Largest Order of Life on Earth: Coleoptera (Beetles)
    • The Diptera (True Flies)
    • The Orthoptera (Grasshoppers & Crickets)
    • The Odonata (Dragonflies & Damselflies)
    • The True Bugs: Hemiptera & Homoptera
    • Metamorphosis
    • Insect Survival in Winter

To keep the presentation quality at its highest, we recommend audience sizes of 50 or less. Higher rates than those listed below apply to larger audiences and assemblies. Contact us for more information. An additional .60/mi mileage fee applies to non-local destinations.
One-Hour Presentation: $150.
90-Min Presentation: $190.
Multiple presentations at the same location on the same day:
First hour $150/hr, then $90/hr.
30-Min Presentation: $80.
Two 30-Min Presentations: $150.