Umbrella Academy programs for March and April

Health, anthropology, the environment and astronomy are Umbrella Academy’s focus for the months of March and April 2019. Founders Meisha Lohmann and Lisa Coniglio announce that three of the four presenters are new to the academy. 

Still located upstairs at the Coburn Free Library, located at 275 Main St. in Owego, one format change has been introduced in 2019. Instead of every alternate Tuesday, sessions will be held on every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, March 12, Maureen Hawley presents “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder.” Opioid addiction is in the news on almost a daily basis. Is effective treatment available? Is there reason for hope for individuals, families and communities impacted by this? 

Hawley will provide information on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction. A history and summary of the medications and treatments available will be provided. 

Hawley is a lifelong Tioga County Resident, having worked in human services and healthcare. She is an interested community member in regards to the opioid issue, participating as a volunteer in community events and presentations.

On Tuesday, March 26, Ed Nizalowski presents “Multi-Culturalism in Tioga County, New York.” 

Tioga County was settled in the years after the Revolutionary War; largely by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but in the ensuing years a diverse number of other ethnic groups became part of its cultural fabric. Ed Nizalowski will begin with the cultural diversity within his own family along with an overview of the 16 different ethnic groups that made their mark on Tioga County. There will be a special emphasis on the immigrant farmers that became a major population component in the first half of the 20th century.

Rescheduled to Tuesday, April 9, “The Language of Environmental Science,” originally on the calendar for Feb. 12 but postponed due to weather, will be presented by Dr. Jonathan Zisk. 

Zisk reports that he spent his early adulthood wandering – art, bicycle-wrenching, clinical psychology, and chemistry were nascent careers. He earned too many degrees, including a PhD from Cornell in Analytical Chemistry, looking at localization of neutron-capture compounds in cells, for cancer treatment. To stay in Ithaca for the sake of family, he started, and then settled into 25 years of teaching high school science in Candor, N.Y. Along that eventually deeply satisfying path, he helped Candor win nine State Envirothons – more than any New York school, including private, exam / magnet, and public districts that outlay three times Candor’s per-student budget. 

Zisk stated, “I have a lifelong environmental passion.” 

Zisk will explore the language of environmental science, created as a neutral study. He will move from Teddy Roosevelt to Rachel Carlson, and from “conservation” to “sustainability,” discerning how ulterior motives ruin egalitarian principles.

On Tuesday, April 23, Art Cacciola will present “Gazing Skyward.” Cacciola has volunteered at Kopernik Observatory for 30 years, teaching astronomy, photography and astrophotography, serving as a BSA merit badge counselor for about ten different badges. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Kopernik Society, along with being a director on the Pennsylvania Dark Sky Fund and advisor at the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory in Tupper Lake.  

Cacciola plans to review the basic types of telescopes, emphasizing pros and cons. He will also review some of the most popular accessories used today, then show what will be in the sky that night and in the following days and give them some useful free websites. Finally, if clear enough, he will have participants use two different telescopes to try to do some simple observing.

Join the ever-growing number of participants at Umbrella Academy. All sessions are free and all are welcome. If you are interested in becoming a presenter, contact Meisha Lohmann at

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