Naturalist Nights at ACES
For the next 12 weeks, you can get a free crash course in some of the most fascinating aspects of the natural world at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) Hallam Lake campus and Carbondale’s Third Street Center.
The “Naturalist Nights” series is a consistently fascinating and unpredictable treat for lovers of the outdoors. Last year’s highlights included a presentation from the acclaimed author Roderick Nash, one on climate change’s effect on mountain butterflies and a downright thrilling presentation on pikas.
The speaker series, hosted also by the Wilderness Workshop and Roaring Fork Audubon, kicked off on Thursday with a talk titled “(Plant) Sex in the City (Park),” about how well-designed city parks can function as a network of habitats, linking parks to surrounding natural landscape. It runs every Thursday night in Aspen and every other Wednesday night in Carbondale through the end of March. Topics range from wildlife biology to geology, from climate science to environmental politics and even the spiritual aspects of wilderness — all from experts in the field.
This Thursday at 7:30 p.m. the series continues with a presentation on cutthroat trout in Colorado, and how biologists have used 19th century DNA samples to track the fish’s ecology and evolution. Upcoming highlights include presentations on lynx reintroduction in Colorado (Jan. 30 in Carbondale, Jan. 31 in Aspen) and one on oil and gas in the Roaring Fork Valley (Feb. 13 in Carbondale, Feb. 14 in Aspen).
For a full schedule visit www.wildernessworkshop.org/events  or call 970-963-3977
Father John Misty at Belly Up
Father John Misty. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but this Friday night show by former Fleet Foxes member Josh Tillman at Belly Up is a must-see for local music lovers.
Tillman’s first album as Father John Misty, “Fear Fun,” released in May, was a breakthrough for the singer-songwriter, who has been recording solo work since 2003. It’s filled with literate folk songs that are as dark as they are absurdly fun and playful. Tillman injects a dry wit into deceptively simple compositions and what promises to be a highlight of the winter musical season in Aspen.
Magic Trick opens. The show is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Friday Jan. 4. Tickets are still available Friday for $19. More info at www.bellyupaspen.com