Cafe Botanique, March 1, 6:30 p.m.

(Image by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm)

Graphic Novels Present a New Perspective on Scientific Concepts
Illya Kowalchuk, M.Ed

Graphic novels present an interesting opportunity to introduce readers to challenging scientific ideas. Combining text with images creates an easy to understand platform that appeals to a wide variety of learning styles. Illya Kowalchuk will discuss how graphic novels can enjoyably explain topics such as fantastically powered beetles, DNA and even nuclear fission.

Illya Kowalchuk, M.Ed, is the Director of Education and co-founder of Pop Culture Classroom and co-founder of Denver Comic Con. Currently, Illya designs and oversees educational programming in schools, events and correctional institutions.  
Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Cafe Botanique, February 1, 2017

Travels of a Darwin Groupie
Michon Scott, NSIDC, Boulder

"You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family," Charles Darwin's dad once told him. Darwin failed to become a doctor, but he succeeded in changing how we see life on Earth. Darwin developed the theory central to understanding biology, all the while trying to live down the reputation of his quirky, libertine grandfather. Michon Scott will share her experiences on Galapagos Islands and also talk about evolution, Charles Darwin’s life, and about his grandfather Erasmus Darwin.

Michon Scott is a science writer for and a web designer at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). In her spare time, she maintains a site about the history of paleontology and biology at

Wednesday, February 1, 6:30-8 p.m.

Gates Hall

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Cafe Botanique, November 2, 6:30-8 p.m.

The Inspired World of Beatrix Potter
Connie Ryle Neumann

This year celebrates the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), the famous creator of the British children's classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and other little books, penned over 100 years ago. However, there was much more to the shy but observant Victorian lady whose pursuits in botanical illustration and Lakeland farm conservation broadened her literary legacy. Potter documented the natural world of England and Scotland in her journals, her letters, her little "bunny books" and her vast portfolio of fungi, woodland animals, gardens and landscape paintings. Through slides and readings Connie Neumann will introduce the inspired and imaginative world of Beatrix Potter.

Connie Ryle Neumann served as a school teacher and librarian for over 30 years in Texas, Germany and Colorado. She is a member of the international Beatrix Potter Society and has traveled and studied British children's authors and illustrators since the 1980s.
Wednesday, November 2, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Cafe Botanique, October 12, 6:30 p.m.

Story Hats
Leslie Molen

Colorado textile artist Leslie Molen shares the story of the unique hats she has designed while interpreting Chinese folk art. These textile creations are filled with the symbolism and legends of ancient Chinese culture.

Leslie Molen has been an internationally known textile artist for the last 25 years. She is a member of the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA).

Café Botanique is a program within the School of Botanical Art and Illustration and is open to everyone. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. Café Botanique generally meets on select Wednesdays, each time with a different topic relating to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Illustration curriculum. 
Wednesday, October 12, 6:30-8 p.m.

Gates Hall 

Cafe Botanique, September 14, 2016

Color and Light in the Landscape
James Gurney

The subject of color often seems like an abstract science, but it really comes to life when it is related to light and atmosphere, the central tools of any realist painter. I’ll cover most of the standard geography of color: hue, value, and chroma; as well as limited palettes, warm and cool color, with many new insights about visual perception from the modern science of neurobiology.  I’ll share clear examples of familiar problems faced by every outdoor painter, including  reflections, rainbows, clouds, dappled light, sunbeams, and subsurface scattering.

James Gurney is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Dinotopia book series. He designed the World of Dinosaurs stamps for the U.S. Postal Service and has worked on over a dozen assignments for National Geographic magazine, painting reconstructions of Moche, Kushite, and Etruscan civilizations. He has won the Hugo, Chesley, Spectrum, and World Fantasy Awards. Solo exhibitions of his artwork have been presented at the Smithsonian Institution, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Norton Museum of Art. He has recently been named a “Grand Master” by Spectrum Fantastic Arts and a "Living Master” by the Art Renewal Center. His book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painte was Amazon’s #1 bestselling book on painting for over 150 weeks and is based on his daily blog.

September 14, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Cafe Botanique, Wednesday April 6, 6:30 p.m.

Climate Change at the Poles: Not waiting for The Day After Tomorrow
Dr. Ted Scambos, NSIDC, Boulder CO

Both of Earth’s polar regions are changing rapidly and dramatically in response to global warming. Yet they remain spectacular landscapes, wrought of rock and ice and water in ways most of us have never seen. We will review the recent changes in Arctic sea ice, Greenland’s ice sheet, and coastal Antarctica, using satellite data, and go closer, using pictures from field expeditions to get a more personal sense of these far-off, yet hugely important, regions.

Dr. Ted Scambos is the Lead Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and a frequent traveller to the Antarctic for research. He uses satellite data, and field instrumentation, to study the polar region’s responses to climate change. 
Wednesday, April 6, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Cafe Botanique, Thursday, March 10, 6:30-8 p.m.

Frank Henderson in 2016 (left) and at Oathills Farm with two brothers in the 1950s
plucking chickens and wearing home made lambskin jackets (Frank on the left.)

Sustainable Farming and Carbon Sequestration in Farm Soils
Frank (Francis) Henderson, Oathill Farm, Cotswold, U.K.

Frank Henderson is the son of George Henderson, author of “The Farming Ladder,” a classic in agricultural practice published in 1943. He has farmed at Oathill Farm on the Cotswolds all his life, taking over the farm for his parents.

Along with his sister Louise, Henderson raised pigs and produced hay for 40 years. While they no longer have livestock, they remain among the U.K.'s leading small specialist producers of Race Horse Hay.

An inventor and builder of farm machinery, Henderson has won national awards for his innovations and even created a famous bale stacking machine. He was local chairman of the National Farmers Union and currently serves as Chairman of The Oxfordshire Agricultural Discussion Society (TOADS).

Just last summer, the BBC aired a program about Oathill Farm and the the sustainable farming that George Henderson initiated. It also includes a short interview with Frank Henderson. (

Don’t miss this special opportunity!