With Wapsi River Center naturalist Becky Baugh leading what promises to be a fascinating presentation, the Davenport Public Library will host a virtual program for bird watchers of all ages in The Great Backyard Bird Count, a January 19 program offering information on an important annual event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Long before Martha Stewart, there was Betty Crocker, and from now until January 24, the Bettendorf Public Library will host exclusive access to the Community Connections presentation Betty Crocker: Her Cookbook That Changed How America Cooks, in which Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., highlights the history of the iconic advertising figure and her famous Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

An edifice no doubt familiar to Quad Citians who routinely venture through Davenport's Hamburg Historic District, the history behind stately mansion at 1208 Main Street – and the prominent German lawyer, businessman, mayor, and art connoisseur who once lived there – will be explored in the Davenport Public Library's December 21 presentation Charles A. Ficke: The Man and His Mansion, a fascinating virtual program by Dr. William Roba.

A special, holiday-themed presentation in the Davenport and Rock Island Public Libraries' World War I lecture series, the virtual program The Christmas Truce of 1914 will, on December 16, invite viewers to learn more about the inspiring event that found roughly 100,000 British and German troops involved in informal cease-fires along the Western Front.

Delivered as part of the Davenport Public Library's virtual 3rd Thursday at Hoover's Presidential Library & Museum programming, the museum's archivist Craig Wright will present the December 17 Zoom webinar The 1929 Christmas Eve White House Fire, telling of the four-alarm emergency that led to dozens of engines and ladder companies working to extinguish the inferno.

Lars Rehnberg, vice-president for Davenport's seasonal tavern Miracle at the Freight House, discussed the pop-up venue's origins, operations, and challenges in this pandemic year, along with the yuletide décor that might make Disneyland only the second-happiest place on Earth. We spoke on Wednesday, December 2.

A timeless holiday classic is set to get an immersive and unforgettable makeover at Davenport's Outing Club from December 4 through 13, with the professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities delivering their brand-new yuletide offering The Nutcracker in a Round a series of holiday dance vignettes that employ Tchaikovsky's legendary The Nutcracker as inspiration, but pay tribute to that ballet in never-before seen, or heard, ways.

History and Christmas buffs will be treated to a ho-ho-whole lot of entertaining factoids in a new virtual presentation on December 1, with the Davenport Public Library (in conjunction with the German American Heritage Center) hosting an online, holiday-themed treasure trove of world history in From Turkey to Germany and Beyond: The Legend & Celebrations of St. Nicholas Day.

The first in a series of webinars devoted to exploring the benefits of nature in our collective health and well-being, the virtual presentation Nature as a Source of Healing will be co-presented by the Niabi Zoo and the University of Illinois Extension on November 19, the special hour-long program delivered by physician and noted author Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller.

Hosted by Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Muscatine's Stanley Center for Peace & Security, the virtual discussion Empathy in Times of Crisis will gather community members for a conversation on some of the most pressing social issues of our times, with the 90-minute presentation boasting insight and opinion from author Imbolo Mbue, whose novel Behold the Dreamers garnered her the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Blue Metropolis Words to Change Award.

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