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Registration is required to attend all Osher Institute programs. Most Spring 2022 programs will be offered via Zoom Webinar as a hybrid (both in person and livestream/recorded); some will have in-person seating; and some will be in person only or livestream only.

Registration for the Spring 2022 semester opens on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

To register:

Spring 2022 Catalog Available Now

Thank you for accessing the online version of the Spring 2022 semester catalog!

Hard copy catalogs will arrive in members’ mailboxes starting on Tuesday, December 14.

If you would like an additional copy of the Spring 2022 semester catalog, we will be happy to mail you one. Please contact the Osher Institute office at

Additional Information

Visit the Registration Information page to view our policies and updates for the Spring 2022 semester.

Visit the Presenter Biographies page to learn more about our presenters.

Spring 2022 Programs

Starting in January

Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses Plus)

We have extended our partnership with Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses Plus), an online video-on-demand platform offering thousands of college-level videos and lectures. Register for this offering to receive a unique login for your own account with Wondrium at a significantly discounted yearly rate.
Please note: It will take two weeks to process your account information after you register.
Dates valid: January 1, 2022 – July 31, 2022
Cost: $45

Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story (Livestream Only)

Join us for a special screening of director Martin Doblmeier’s film about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr., a critic of the Vietnam War, a champion for Soviet Jews, and a pioneer in the work of interfaith dialogue. The film combines archival photographs and interviews with civil rights leaders John Lewis and Andrew Young, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, public theologian Cornel West, and Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Arnold Eisen. Following the film, Doblmeier and a select panel will discuss the strong connection between MLK and Heschel and Heschel’s legacy. Sponsored by Boise State University Honors College and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Presenter: award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier, Rabbi Dan Fink, and Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan. Moderated by Andrew Finstuen, Dean, Honors College, Boise State University
Date and time: Tue., Jan. 18, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Triumph of an Icon (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Few Americans are more venerated today than Martin Luther King, Jr. Tributes to him as an almost mythical icon abound in the streets, schools, and organizations that bear his name; in books and films about certain aspects of his life; and in the countless words drawn from his speeches, sermons, books, and quotes. Yet at the time of his death 53 years ago, he was widely reviled by many white Americans and held in low esteem by many African Americans. In this lecture, we will discuss how, why, and to what extent the sea change occurred.
Presenter: Joseph Rosenbloom, journalist, investigative reporter, editor, and author
Date and time: Tue., Jan. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Vaccines: Suffering Prevented

This lecture will provide a brief history of vaccines used in the U.S. and review data on illnesses and deaths prevented through vaccination. We will examine information on vaccine safety, including COVID-19 vaccines, as well as Idaho’s vaccination rates and laws. We also will discuss barriers to vaccination and approaches to improving vaccine use. Dr. Bridges will recount her experiences during her 21 years working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Presenter: Carolyn Bridges, MD, FACP, retired, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Owner, Bridges Med-Epi Consulting LLC; and Director of Immunizations,
Date and time: Wed., Jan. 19, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

From Page to Stage at Boise Contemporary Theater

BCT’s mission is to inspire our community to examine its perspectives and better understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us by creating thought-provoking stories of the human experience. How does BCT accomplish this, and how does its focus on contemporary and new work enable community conversations and engender empathy? In this course, the BCT staff will show how the transformation of a play from script to stage addresses these questions. Accomplished artistic partners from across the country will share their expertise and vision for BCT’s upcoming plays and for the contemporary American theater at large.
Presenters: Jessica Ires Morris, Adjunct Professor of Theater, Boise State University, and Benjamin Burdick, Producing Artistic Director, BCT
Dates and times: Thu., Jan. 20, 27, Feb. 3, and 10, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

HOA Law in Idaho

This lecture will give participants an overview of Homeowners Association (HOA) operation and governance under Idaho law. Topics will include operating your non-profit corporation, board of director best practices, architectural guidelines, community policy making, assessment collection, and enforcing covenants.
Presenter: Patrick Galloway, attorney
Date and time: Thu., Jan. 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

NEW! The Ongoing Crisis in American Democracy: Restoring Norms and Principles

This lecture will assess the state of our nation and the necessary steps to remedy the diminished democratic norms and practices and respect for the rule of law, so essential to the health and maintenance of our Constitutional system.
Presenter: Dr. David Adler, President, The Alturas Institute
Date and time: Fri., Jan. 21, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Performance Four (In Person Only)

2020 was the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth year. We are continuing the celebratory events in his honor this Spring. A Beethoven quartet cycle that performs all 16 of his quartets is a very special and unique experience for the listener and the performers. Join us for the continuation of the Beethoven quartet cycle with Laurel Talley and Anna-Marie Vargas on violins, Jennifer Drake on viola, and Brian Hodges on cello as they perform two quartets: Op. 18, No. 5 and Op. 127.
Please note: Each performance requires separate registration. The fifth performance takes place in person on May 21 and will not be recorded.
Presenter: Dr. Brian Hodges, Associate Professor of Cello, Boise State University
Date and time: Sat., Jan. 22, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Location: Morrison Center Recital Hall
Cost: $25

Basque History and Culture in Idaho

This lecture on the history and culture of the Basques in Idaho is built around Marcus L. Hansen’s “Law of Third Generation Return.” In short, what the son wishes to forget, the grandson wishes to remember. Each generation has a different series of choices based on opportunities that differentiate their experience in Idaho. While many may know about the Basques in shepherding, Dr. John Bieter’s generational research offers a fresh perspective.
Presenter: Dr. John Bieter, Co-Director, Basque Studies Collaborative, and Professor of History, Boise State University
Date and time: Fri., Jan. 28, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Northern Spain Trip Information Session With Travel Fever Tours (Livestream Only)

In partnership with Travel Fever Tours, the Osher Institute is exploring a travel opportunity to the Basque region in northern Spain in September, 2022. Participants will explore the roots of Basque culture in Idaho and gain an insider’s view of Basque history, economics, and cuisine. The trip will start in Bilbao and explore rural life in villages and larger towns. Join Travel Fever Tours owners Bob Lawson and Cicely Carroll for an information session on the trip. The itinerary, travel details, and payment plan options will be discussed.
Presenters: Bob Lawson and Cicely Carroll, owners, Travel Fever Tours
Date and time: Mon., Jan. 31, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Creating Calm and Building Personal Resilience in Uncertain Times (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, political and social tensions, community violence, and other serious concerns have changed our lives in unprecedented and unpredictable ways. The threat of potential illness, the need for social distancing, and learning to cope in new ways while still tending to the competing demands of everyday life can take a significant toll on our overall health and well-being. Join Dr. Cynthia Clark for a timely and thought-provoking discussion on the signs and symptoms of stress. You also will participate in a reflective activity to assess your overall well-being and learn effective coping strategies that promote personal wellness and mitigate stress.
Presenter: Dr. Cynthia Clark, Founder, Civility Matters, LLC
Date and time: Mon., Jan. 31, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Starting in February

Deindustrialization, Urban Renewal, and Identity in the West

This course will explore the urban West’s transition from industrial to recreational mecca. Using Boise as the primary case study, we will examine the role that urban renewal played in this transition and look at the vastly altered landscape wrought by those policies. We also will investigate and discuss what makes cities resilient and successful in the face of such dramatic shifts.
Presenter: Jennifer Stevens, Founder, Stevens Historical Research Associates
Dates and times: Tue., Feb. 1 and 8, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25

Profiles From Reformation Europe: 1517-1648 (Livestream/Recorded Only)

This course will cover the span of the Reformation through biographical sketches beginning with Martin Luther in the early 16th century. Each sketch will explore how the Reformation evolved given different national contexts. We will focus on Henry VIII and Catherine de Medici, as well as Ferdinand II’s part in the catastrophic Thirty Years War in the early 17th century. Topics will include the rise of radical Protestant sects such as the Anabaptists, Calvinists, and Puritans; the emergence of the Counter-Reformation led by Charles V of Spain; and the development of market-based capitalism which was accelerated by the Reformation.
Presenter: Dr. Jared Day, former Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Dates and times: Tue., Feb. 1, 8, 15, and 22, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief

Osteoporosis (OP) is a frequently overlooked and undiagnosed medical condition primarily affecting adults over age 50 caused by a loss of bone calcium, resulting in structural weakness and susceptibility to low-trauma fractures. The rate of these fractures is increasing, and the cost to our society is approximately $75 billion per year. The good news is that OP is easy to diagnose and treat. This lecture will review the impact of OP (including data for our region), bone biology basics, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment options. We also will address myths related to OP and its treatment.
Presenter: James Loveless, MD, FACR, Rheumatologist and Medical Director for Research and Bone Health, St. Luke’s Health System
Date and time: Wed., Feb. 2, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Owls of Idaho

Fourteen species of owls can be found in Idaho ranging from common species, such as the Great Horned Owl and Western Screech-Owl, to rare species, such as the Northern Hawk Owl and Snowy Owl. Some are relatively easy to see once you’re in the right habitat, and others are almost impossible to spot. Some can be found here year-round, and others are migratory. We will look at each of Idaho’s owl species, where they can be found, what they sound like, and how they behave via nest-box videos. We also will examine the role owls have played in human culture throughout history.
Presenter: Terry Rich, ornithologist, environmental educator, and writer
Date and time: Wed., Feb. 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $15

Protective Factors for Loneliness in Older Adults

Loneliness impacts the health and well-being of older people, creating a greater risk of mortality. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound social implications, and higher levels of loneliness and social isolation can be found across age groups. This lecture will explore the importance of quality of contact with others, including use of phone contact and texting as significant protective factors for loneliness, particularly for older people during the pandemic. Similarly, long-lasting intimate relationships are marked by companionship, laughter, and acts of appreciation, which in turn can help protect against loneliness.
Presenter: Dr. Jill M. Chonody, Associate Professor of Social Work, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Feb. 3, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Cli Fi and the Fate of the World (Livestream/Recorded Only)

The term “cli fi” for climate fiction entered our cultural vocabulary in 2008 and has become a mainstay of the environmental imagination. Why do we need fictional representations of the changing natural world to supplement the vast accumulation of scientific data about climate change? How can our reading of cli fi help us to be more mindful citizens of the Anthropocene? This course will discuss these questions and introduce participants to Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, important examples of recent American cli fi.
Presenter: Dr. Scott Slovic, University Distinguished Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of Idaho
Dates and times: Mon., Feb. 7 and 14, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25

Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation in Idaho

This lecture will provide an overview of the history of the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation and discuss the agencies’ management of land and water in Idaho, including current issues and challenges.
Presenters: John F. Ruhs, retired Idaho State Director, BLM, and Michael Coffey, Regional Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Reclamation
Date and time: Mon., Feb. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Introduction to 5G

Cell phone companies are quickly building their 5G systems. So, what is 5G? Rather than just one feature, 5G is a whole grab bag of technologies such as “slicing,” “sharing,” and “edge computing.” Participants will learn, in layman’s terms, what these technologies do for us, as well as the challenges the carriers face to deploy 5G. No math or science background is needed.
Presenters: Marilyn Escue, retired telecommunications software architect, and Dave Wasilew, retired consulting software designer
Date and time: Wed., Feb. 9, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Trailblazers of Music (In Person Only)

This course will focus on four courageous composers who changed music history forever: Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Claude Debussy, and George Gershwin. The presentations will blend narration with live performances. Following Dr. Del Parkinson’s discussion of unique contributions of each trailblazer, he will perform works that were considered startling when first presented to the world.
Presenter: Dr. Del Parkinson, Professor of Piano, Boise State University
Dates and times: Thu., Feb. 10 and 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Location: Morrison Center Recital Hall
Cost: $35

Education in Idaho: Where We Stand and Where We’re Going

Idaho education enters the 2021-22 school year at a crossroads. Teachers will embark on a multiyear challenge: helping students make up ground lost during the pandemic. Schools face chronic fiscal challenges as they look to recruit and retain teachers and provide a well-rounded education experience. Education in Idaho, and nationally, faces a vocal and orchestrated backlash from the political right centered on accusations of indoctrination. Since all these issues will help define the 2022 elections, join this conversation about Idaho education policy and education politics.
Presenter: Kevin Richert, senior reporter, Idaho Education News
Date and time: Mon., Feb. 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Science and Management of Wildlife Movements and Migration

Scientific studies of wildlife movements and migration have become increasingly important, as have the efforts to manage and sustain wildlife migration in relation to human development and activity. In this lecture, the results of scientific research will be used to illustrate how wildlife movements and migration are being defined, quantified, and modeled. Terminology and definitions of terms will be provided. Policy, funding, and management strategies and actions will be discussed. Case studies and examples relevant to Idaho and the West will be explored.
Presenter: Gregg Servheen, retired Wildlife Program Coordinator, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and past president, Idaho chapter of The Wildlife Society
Date and time: Tue., Feb. 15, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy

This lecture will discuss common misconceptions and fears surrounding menopause and hormones by presenting data from recent scientific studies. The various treatment options from which women can choose also will be explained.
Presenter: Marianne Zakarian, MD, FACOG, retired board-certified obstetrics and gynecology practitioner
Date and time: Wed., Feb. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

How We Use Drones Today

This lecture will discuss the many ways unmanned aircraft, aka drones, are used in today’s world and provide basic knowledge of the benefits of drone operations. We will distinguish between hobby/craft/recreational flying versus commercial drone operations and take a deeper dive into operational aspects at the local, state, federal, research, and private industry levels. Drones are used in everything from documenting landslides, wildfires, habitat restoration, dam inspections, archeological mapping, precision agriculture, and real estate, to solar and energy efficiency surveys.
Presenter: Kristin Swoboda, Fixed Wing Aircraft Specialist and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Manager, National Park Service
Date and time: Thu., Feb. 17, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Molecular Biology for Non-Scientists

Presented for non-scientists, this lecture will discuss the fundamental principles of molecular biology. Topics will include how penicillin works, how a toxin differs from a medicine, how electric eels produce electrical shocks, and how all the human senses work. The goal will be to help non-scientists better understand their world, and in so doing, help them appreciate how fantastic it is.
Presenter: Dr. Allan Albig, Associate Professor of Biology, Boise State University
Date and time: Wed., Feb. 23, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Great American Economic Thinkers: Part II

How does capitalism work? Does it work? Could it work better? Ultimately, what sort of economy should the U.S. be pursuing? This second of a three-part series will wrestle with how American thinkers have sought to answer these questions, and how their various ideologies and political programs shaped the development of the American economy. This course will explore Gilded Age and Progressive Era reformers, as well as the intellectual revolts of the 1920s and 1930s.
Presenter: Dr. Shaun S. Nichols, Assistant Professor of History, Boise State University
Dates and times: Wed., Feb. 23, Mar. 2, 9, and 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Starting in March

Molecular Modeling to Engineer Advanced Aerospace Composites

This lecture will describe current challenges in manufacturing composite parts for aircraft and how computer models are used to understand and improve the processes involved in making next-generation parts stronger, less expensive, and more consistent.
Presenter: Dr. Eric Jankowski, Associate Professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, Boise State University
Date and time: Tue., Mar. 1, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Borah of Idaho

Born in Illinois in 1865, William Edgar Borah moved to Idaho in 1890 to practice law. He was involved in Idaho state politics, served as a part-time secretary for Governor William McConnell, and married the governor’s daughter. In 1907, Borah was elected to the U.S. Senate and served until his death in 1940. Known for his public speaking skills and his independent—and often controversial—positions on political issues, he was a strong advocate for peace, disarmament, and the outlawing of war. This lecture will focus on Borah’s Senate career and his work with the Outlawry of War movement.
Presenter: Dr. Bill Smith, Director of the Martin Institute and the Borah Foundation, University of Idaho
Date and time: Thu., Mar. 3, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Pioneer Stunt Actors of Hollywood

Before the age of blue screens and computer-generated imagery (CGI), thrilling movie sequences were performed by ordinary people doing dangerous things. Join us for a look at Hollywood’s pioneer stunt actors who rode hard, soared high, and fell far. They risked life and limb to entertain, astonish, and keep audiences coming back for more.
Presenter: Lance Thompson, script doctor, screenwriter, and actor
Dates and times: Thu., Mar. 3, 10, and 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $35

Black Holes in Theory and Observation

This lecture will present a conceptual overview of black holes in general relativity and observational evidence for various black hole populations. We will discuss Einstein’s formulation of gravity, the characteristics of spinning and non-spinning black holes, and the effect of black holes on their environments. We also will explore evidence for the known populations of black holes, including active galactic nuclei and accreting X-ray binary systems.
Presenter: Dr. Daryl Macomb, Professor of Physics, Boise State University
Date and time: Fri., Mar. 4, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Poetry Workshop (Livestream Only)

The experience of a poem is made up of what the writer puts in (words, images) and what the reader receives (a new perspective on the world, a feeling, an emotional souvenir). This workshop will guide writers to find their voice in poetry. We will write to prompts and use what is written during class to try out different craft techniques. Participants will leave with a confidence in their own voice, a sense of how words work to convey a feeling or impression, and some new writing that can be used as “compost” for future poems.
Please note: This workshop will be held via Zoom Meeting with limited enrollment. It will
not be recorded or offered as part of future archived programs.
Presenter: Elisabeth McKetta, author and writing instructor, Harvard University and Oxford University
Date and time: Mon., Mar. 7, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership
Capacity: 25

Lipid-Soluble Vitamin D

This lecture will cover routes of vitamin D synthesis; natural and synthetic sources of vitamin D; the molecular role of vitamin D in metabolism and hormone processes; diseases of vitamin D deficiency; and treatments of disease with vitamin D.
Presenter: Dr. Ken Cornell, Professor of Biochemistry, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Mar. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Ever-Changing Landscape of Idaho Journalism

Christina Lords and Audrey Dutton have 35 years of professional journalism experience between them. During that time, they’ve seen how the landscape of Idaho journalism’s core and traditional revenue models for print newspapers, TV news, and public radio stations have been completely upended. As reader and listener habits have changed, journalists have had to change with them to survive. This lecture will discuss how a digital, ad-free environment and a community-funded journalism approach may ensure that everyday residents and policy makers alike have access to data, context, and analysis from fact-based reporting in Idaho for years to come.
Presenters: Christina Lords, Editor in Chief, Idaho Capital Sun, and Audrey Dutton, Senior Investigative Reporter, Idaho Capital Sun
Date and time: Tue., Mar. 8, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Dances Within Us (In Person Only)

We all dance—through our breath, our spine, and the impulse of moving. This interactive workshop will examine the creative process in movement and ourselves. Exploration of space, time, and dynamics will be integrated with movement, observation, and discussion. Attention to one’s breath and physical awareness will be fundamental to the focus of individual impulses and creativity. No dance experience is necessary. Any “body” and any “ability” are right for this workshop. Each session will allow adjustment for any physical needs, pace, and level of participation. Classes will include discussions of dance history, small group work, and relaxation time.
Please note: This workshop will not meet on Thu., Mar. 24. This workshop will be held in person only and will not be recorded or offered as part of future archived programs.
Presenter: Kay Braden, choreographer and teacher
Dates and times: Thu., Mar. 10, 17, 31, and Apr. 7, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45
Capacity: 30

Murder in a Cathedral

In 1488, Count Girolamo Riario, Lord of Forli and nephew of a pope, was stabbed to death in the town’s government palace. His was the last killing. The first came 10 years previously when Lorenzo de Medici was murdered on the floor of the cathedral of Florence during High Mass. This lecture will tell the story of those two events, what came between, and what we can learn about justice and vengeance in Renaissance Italy.
Presenter: Dr. Skip Knox, retired adjunct history professor
Date and time: Mon., Mar. 14, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Contributing to Science in Your Backyard and Beyond

“Community-based” or “citizen” science engages members of the public in collecting and analyzing data about the natural world in collaboration with professional scientists. This lecture will provide an in-depth introduction to the popular global community science platform, iNaturalist, as well as other local and regional community-based science opportunities. In addition, participants will learn how they can contribute to the City Nature Challenge, an annual exploration and celebration of global biodiversity.
Presenter: Kristin Gnojewski, Community Volunteer Specialist, Boise Parks and Recreation
Date and time: Tue., Mar. 15, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises of the World

Saving whales was one of the first major efforts of the environmental movement, but there is still a considerable misunderstanding about these unique animals. This lecture will provide a summary of the biology, status, and management of the whales, dolphins, and porpoises of the world. Specific focus will be on bowhead and beluga whales that live in the Arctic and subarctic. Because bowheads and belugas are important subsistence species, we will discuss domestic (U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act) and international (International Whaling Commission) management.
Presenter: Dr. Robert Suydam, retired Senior Wildlife Biologist, North Slope Borough
Date and time: Tue., Mar. 29, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $15

Starting in April

The Impact of Short-Term Rentals on Communities

Sharing-economy platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO have propelled short-term renting from a way to earn income on unused vacation properties to a ubiquitous element of cities and neighborhoods. But what happens to those cities and neighborhoods when housing is converted to this new use and long-term neighbors are replaced by short-term “guests?” This lecture will address the rise of short-term rentals around the world and in Boise, examining how they impact housing markets, neighborhood character, and the practices of neighboring and community building.
Presenter: Dr. Krista Paulsen, Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Apr. 4, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The History of Bird Conservation

This lecture will examine U.S. conservation issues we face today through the lens of past conservation successes and failures, from the Passenger Pigeon to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, from the Bald Eagle to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and everything in between. We will cover the highs and lows of bird conservation throughout history.
Presenter: Heidi Ware Carlisle, Education and Outreach Director, Intermountain Bird Observatory
Date and time: Mon., Apr. 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $15

Narrating the Family (Livestream Only)

This workshop will offer hands-on coaching in using unconventional research sources and methods to enliven family narratives, drawing on several decades of Joy Passanante’s published writing about family. We will brainstorm sources for family lore that are often overlooked and develop family personalities and engrossing narratives through scenes. We will stimulate our imaginations through short writing exercises and share and respond to participants’ exercises and scene beginnings. We will take away ideas, inspiration, and a fine start to your own family writing.
Please note: This workshop will be held via Zoom Meeting with limited enrollment. It will
not be recorded or offered as part of future archived programs.
Presenter: Joy Passanante, writer and Professor Emerita of English, University of Idaho
Dates and times: Tue., Apr. 5 and 12, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25
Capacity: 20

Philo Farnsworth: Idaho’s Teen Inventor of Television and More

It was 1921 when 15-year-old Philo Farnsworth, plowing an Idaho potato field behind two horses, conceived the idea for an electronic television camera. He was a freshman at Rigby High when he created a diagram of the camera for his science teacher. That diagram helped him win a patent battle against manufacturing giant RCA. While television occupied most of his time, Farnsworth is credited with over 300 inventions in his lifetime. Learn his amazing story, some of it told in a filmed interview with his late wife.
Presenter: Dennis Hall, retired financial advisor
Date and time: Wed., Apr. 6, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Uniting America: Strategies in Depolarization

Braver Angels was formed in 2017 to reduce the political polarization in the U.S.
The organization uses workshops to help people communicate across the political divide and find common ground. This lecture will present the Braver Angels’ strategy of teaching skills, their practice and use, and the creation of local alliances to work on issues and model civil discourse and debate. Activities will be presented with examples of depolarization. The goal is to provide tools to help reduce political division in our families, communities, state, and country, and to inspire participants to put those tools into practice.
Presenter: Rob Hanson, moderator, Idaho State Co-Coordinator, and Mountain Region Leader, Braver Angels
Date and time: Wed., Apr. 6, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Difficult Conversations: Making Life and Death Decisions

Humans want life. Death is never an easy subject. This lecture will explore how to put your life in order in a way that will help you and your family find peace. Discussions may be difficult, but are key to the task. Topics will include how to fill out living wills and healthcare agent forms, how to interpret the small print, what the check means, how to talk to your loved ones, and how to ensure wishes are followed.
Presenter: Margie Zamzow, RN, CHPN, retired, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center
Date and time: Thu., Apr. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Story of Klezmer: Exploration of Jewish Music

Klezmer is a style of Jewish folk music originating in Eastern Europe in the mid-19th century that has evolved over the years. It includes styles from North Africa, Spain, and the Middle East, as well as American jazz. This lecture will include a live band performance, visuals, conversation, and Q&A with the audience.
Presenters: Oliver Thompson, violinist, and Elana Salzman, vocalist and Klezmer historian
Date and time: Fri., Apr. 8, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Sustainability and Peace Challenges for Rohingya Refugees

Thousands of Rohingyas have been victims of decades-long ethnic violence in Myanmar, and more than a million have been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable, disaster-prone regions. Unfortunately, Rohingyas are now at the epicenter of natural hazards. This course will unpack the sustainability-peace nexus, a relatively underdeveloped field of research under the broader framework of political ecology. We will address how environmental stresses are affecting refugee camps around the world, and how those stresses might complicate repatriation to home countries or integration into local societies.
Presenter: Dr. Saleh Ahmed, Assistant Professor, School of Public Service, Boise State University
Dates and times: Mon., Apr. 11, 18, and 25, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $35

The Yellowstone Hotspot

The Yellowstone mantle plume has left a linear progression of volcanic and tectonic events along the track of a hotspot extending from Siletzia in the coastal range of Oregon and Washington to the Yellowstone plateau in Wyoming. This course will discuss the three geologic environments that have created a remarkable diversity of volcanism in this area. In the final session, participants can interpret specimens that will be displayed at outdoor sites such as the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology. Tips will be given on finding and collecting specimens along the Yellowstone hotspot track as a self-guided field trip.
Please note: The third session will be held in person and will not be livestreamed or recorded.
Presenter: Dr. Terry Maley, retired geologist and author
Dates and times: Tue., Apr. 12, 19, and 26, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $35
Capacity: 50

A History of Boise’s Strong and Diverse Economy (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Companies such as Simplot, Micron, Boise Cascade, Hewlett-Packard, Albertsons, Ore-Ida, Pro Clarity, Idaho Power, Morrison-Knudsen, and Kount are a few of those that have had a major economic impact on Boise’s economy. This lecture will present the incredible history behind some of these highly successful companies. A distinguished panel will provide details about how these companies came to be located in Boise, as well as inside stories of some of the key events that have led to their success.
Presenter: Dr. Patrick Shannon, Professor Emeritus of Statistics and Supply Chain Management, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Apr. 14, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

“Our” Jane: Jane Austen’s Life, Work, and Afterlife

Jane Austen is one of those rare “celebrity” authors whose work is still widely read and reinterpreted. Her novels have inspired numerous television and film adaptations, as well as fan fiction in every imaginable genre. What is it about Austen that endears her to audiences worldwide so much that most readers are on a first-name basis with her? How did she become “our Jane?” This three-session course will begin to answer these questions. The first session will focus on Austen’s biography, the second on her most widely adapted novels, and the third on selected film and television adaptations of her work.
Presenter: Dr. Ann Campbell, Professor of English, Boise State University
Dates and times: Thu., Apr. 14, 21, and 28, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $35

Beneath Our Feet

This lecture will explore groundwater in the Treasure Valley, describe groundwater characteristics, and explain the unique water resources in the Boise area. We also will investigate sources of contamination and remediation efforts to ensure a continued safe and abundant groundwater system. We will discuss how we rely on groundwater for much of our water demand, including drinking water, industrial and agricultural supplies, and how each of us can ensure clean and adequate groundwater resources for the future.
Presenter: Catherine Chertudi, retired environmental programs manager, Boise Public Works Environmental Division
Date and time: Mon., Apr. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

University of Idaho’s WWAMI Medical Education Program (Livestream/Recorded Only)

This lecture will discuss the University of Idaho WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Education Program, Idaho’s only publicly supported medical school that has served the state of Idaho for 50 years. Established in partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1972, WWAMI provides a world-class medical education in each state. There are currently 80 medical students on campus at the University of Idaho. Eighty are in the first two years of medical school, and 80 are conducting clinical rotations, most of which can be done in Idaho.
Presenter: Dr. Jeff Seegmiller, Director, Idaho WWAMI
Date and time: Wed., Apr. 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Geopolitics of Sea Power (Livestream/Recorded Only)

We are in a moment of geopolitical change when competition over access to parts of the world’s oceans may lead to another round of global wars. This lecture will discuss the tensions that are based on geography of the world’s oceans, summarized in terms of near waters and far waters. One country’s far waters are another country’s near waters, and vice versa. A country gains global power after controlling its near waters and gaining the ability to project power into far waters. Historical comparisons inform today’s U.S.-China tensions.
Presenter: Colin Flint, Distinguished Professor of International Studies, Utah State University
Date and time: Thu., Apr. 21, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Beyond the Hero’s Journey

In this course, folklore scholar Tracey Kindall will lead students through a multi-faceted exploration of Joseph Campbell’s popular Hero’s Journey template. Is it still relevant? What have been its main strengths? What are its limitations? What have its many critics said, and how do their arguments hold up? Does the template have any lasting value? Why is the idea of a “monomyth” dangerous? What other mythic templates might we identify? We will explore these questions and more as we seek to better understand not only the role of this popular story template, but the power and role of mythology itself.
Presenter: Tracey Kindall, history teacher, The North Fork School
Dates and times: Mon., Apr. 25, May 2, 9, and 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, and Their Influence on Economics

We have entered into a world where the Cold War has dissolved and global dominance stems from the best economic and social systems. In this course, we will consider countries with various political, economic, and social structures, and evaluate their successes and failures. One political and economic system is not optimal for every country. But how do China, Russia, and the United States compare and compete?
Which country will likely dominate in the coming decades?
Presenter: Michael Ling, founder, Berkeley Inc.
Dates and times: Tue., Apr. 26 and May 3, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25

Slavery and the American Revolution (Livestream/Recorded Only)

The American Revolution was a transformative moment in African American history, a freedom war second only to the Civil War in significance. This course will explore the American Revolution from the unfamiliar perspective of enslaved and free African Americans. We will examine the ways that Black Americans seized the unique opportunities provided by the war to declare their independence from slavery, as well as Black activists’ efforts to secure the abolition of slavery in the northern states after the Revolution, and enslaved southerners’ far less successful efforts to do likewise in the southern states.
Presenter: Dr. Richard Bell, Professor of History, University of Maryland
Dates and times: Wed., Apr. 27, May 4, 11, and 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Starting in May

The White House

This lecture will present the history of the White House, from its inception to the present day. Take a journey through time from Abigail Adams hanging laundry in the East Room, to Melania Trump’s transformation of the Rose Garden, and all the fascinating stories in between. Join us for a unique look at this beautiful American home.
Presenter: Dr. Doug Rutan, retired educator, school administrator, superintendent, and education coordinator
Date and time: Mon., May 2, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Raising Ramparts: Our Love Affair With Walls

We have built walls since earliest recorded time. The ancient Romans, Greeks, Persians, and Chinese left us remnants of their border walls to explore. Europe and Asia are dotted with castles and fortified cities. The Incas in Peru built walls using construction methods that have been lost in time. And we have more recent walls in North America. We will visit some of these historical walls, discuss the issues that prompted their construction, and review their strengths and vulnerabilities as we move across the world from 11,500 B.C.E. to the present.
Presenter: Walt Adams, retired, Boise Cascade and Packing Corporation of America
Date and time: Mon., May 9, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Understanding the Cyberthreat to Critical U.S. Infrastructure (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Attacks such as those against the Columbia Pipeline and SolarWinds users highlight the cybervulnerabilities inherent in our legacy systems and newer smart grid technology. What threats face America’s 7,300 power plants (mostly privately owned), 450,000 miles of transmission lines, oil and gas infrastructure, transportation systems, and other vital infrastructure? How can the U.S. government work with industry to better understand and mitigate the threats and vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure, and deploy new, more secure technologies?
Presenter: Zachary Tudor, Associate Laboratory Director for National Homeland Security, Idaho National Laboratory
Date and time: Tue., May 10, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The History and Lives of Costa Rican Arthropods (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Our incredible planet is loaded with life, and bugs make up a hefty piece of the pie. Take a closer look at some live arthropods in Monteverde, Costa Rica, as we follow their evolutionary timeline. This lecture takes place in the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens and uses live specimens. We will share captivating and entertaining stories about the fascinating invertebrates that call the cloud forest of Costa Rica home.
Presenter: Bryna Belisle, Owner and Education Director, Monteverde Butterfly Gardens
Date and time: Tue., May 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $15

Scam-Proof Your Life (Livestream/Recorded Only)

The barrage of automated telephone solicitations or “robocalls” we get on our home and mobile phones has increased to nearly 50 billion calls a year. Unfortunately, experts estimate that up to half of those calls are scams. Whether it’s on the phone or online, new technology and “spoofing” tools have made it easier than ever for scammers to pretend to be someone they’re not, such as the IRS, your bank, or your credit card company. Their goal is simple: to fool you into handing over your hard-earned money. This lecture will reveal what you can do to protect yourself.
Presenter: Amy Nofziger, Director of Victim Support, AARP Fraud Watch Network
Date and time: Wed., May 11, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Economics of Climate Change

As we face ongoing climate change, understanding how economics can provide potential solutions is important. Climate change entails characteristics that make economic analysis difficult in three ways. First, it is a global problem that requires international cooperation. Second, there is uncertainty involved with quantifying local, irreversible damages associated with global emissions. Third, cost-benefit analysis of climate change mitigation differs across space and time. This lecture will present information on what empirical economics research has done to address climate change.
Presenter: Dr. Jayash Paudel, Assistant Professor of Economics, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., May 12, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Teaching Writing in Prison: Empowerment and Transformation

This lecture will present an inside view of teaching writing to populations behind bars and the incarcerated authors who are neither the caricatured monsters touted by reality TV and popular film, nor the faceless statistics generated by social science. While America claims to practice exceptional respect for human freedom, we imprison a greater number of citizens than any other nation on Earth. Such facts and statistics will serve as a backdrop for this lecture, with the primary focus being on the transformative power of writing for incarcerated citizens.
Presenter: Diane Raptosh, Co-Director, Criminal Justice/Prison Studies, The College of Idaho
Date and time: Thu., May 12, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Magic of Golf: The Greatest Game Ever Played

This course will explore the soaring grandeur of golf—from its mystical nature and addictive qualities, to its magnificent history and inspirational moments, to its fascinating personalities and contests, to its unceasing demands for perfection—and golf’s greatest courses and instructors. The aim of this course is to explain why we love this game, and occasionally despise it, and how it promotes lessons for life.
Presenter: Dr. David Adler, President, The Alturas Institute
Dates and times: Tue., Wed., Thu., and Fri., May 17, 18, 19, and 20, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

Gravitational Waves

This lecture will provide a basic physics review of gravity and gravitational waves. It will discuss the history of the various projects to detect them. It also will explore the importance of the February 2015 discovery of the first gravitational waves, what they tell us, and what may lie in the future.
Presenter: Paul Nelson, retired Senior Engineer, DRAM Research and Development,
Micron Technology
Date and time: Tue., May 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Yellowstone Volcanic System (Livestream/Recorded Only)

This lecture will introduce the Yellowstone volcanic system, including its geologic history, associated hazards, current activity, and recent scientific discoveries such as the recognition of new thermal areas. We also will discuss the communication strategies employed by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, and in particular how the Observatory works to combat the ubiquitous misinformation that is peddled online.
Presenter: Michael Poland, research geophysicist, Cascades Volcano Observatory, and Scientist-in-Charge, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
Date and time: Thu., May 19, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Performance Five (In Person Only)

2020 was the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth year. We are continuing the celebratory events in his honor this Spring. A Beethoven quartet cycle that performs all 16 of his quartets is a very special and unique experience for the listener and the performers. Join us for the continuation of the Beethoven quartet cycle with Laurel Talley and Anna-Marie Vargas on violins, Jennifer Drake on viola, and Brian Hodges on cello as they perform two quartets: Op. 18, No. 4 and Op. 132.
Please note: Each performance requires separate registration. The fourth performance takes place in person on January 22 and will not be recorded.
Presenter: Dr. Brian Hodges, Associate Professor of Cello, Boise State University
Date and time: Sat., May 21, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Location: Morrison Center Recital Hall
Cost: $25

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are member-led opportunities for learning and engagement outside of the classroom.

(Mostly) Foreign Films at The Flicks

Join Osher members who enjoy films—both foreign and American—by gathering at The Flicks, Boise’s premier independent movie theater. Following each film, members will have the opportunity to meet in the theater for a short discussion. The Flicks utilizes best practices for social distancing and safety issues.
Please note: Due to robust interest in this SIG and the limited size of the theater, the film may sell out.
Facilitator: Patricia Alpine
Meetings: One Monday a month, around 5:00 p.m.
Location: 646 W. Fulton St., Boise

Make Your Family Tree Better

Meet with other Osher members to discuss common questions and issues involved with family history research and genealogy. Discover new ways to find solutions to your research challenges, hear other members’ experiences, and share your own findings with the group.
Facilitator: Thad Webster
Meetings: First and third Tuesday of each month, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Capacity: 25

Hiking in the Foothills

Come explore Boise’s wonderful Ridge to Rivers trail system on moderately strenuous hikes of one-and-a-half to two hours in duration. Start from a different trailhead each week to experience the beauty of the open space surrounding our city. Information with details on date, time, and location will be emailed in advance of the planned hike.
Please note: Due to parking and group size constraints, members who enroll in this group will be split into two groups that will hike different trails each week.
Facilitator: Dennis Hynes
Hikes: Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.-noon

Reading Writers Paired

Take part in a casual and exploratory book group—something different than the typical format. Each month, SIG members choose two books that have something in common such as era, location, or theme. Members can choose to read one book or the other, and both works are discussed at the next meeting.
Facilitator: Carol Delaney
Meetings: Third Thursday of each month, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Capacity: 25

Walking the Greenbelt

Take part in the beauty of the Boise River Greenbelt with other Osher members who want to get exercise while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Moderate to brisk walks that begin and end at the Yanke Building will be the core of this SIG.
Facilitators: Sharon Bixby and Diane Ronayne
Meetings: Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Location: 220 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise. Meet on the east side of the building.

NEW! Personal Writing

Join Osher members in exploring the various forms of personal writing (memoir, personal essays, etc.). Each meeting will be peer-led and will focus on a specific area of personal writing or a theme.
Facilitator: Merilee Marsh
Meetings: every other Friday, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., starting January 21, 2022
Capacity: 25

Drawing With Friends - ON HIATUS

This SIG will be on hiatus for the Spring 2022 semester. It will reconvene at a date to be determined.

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