Brown Bag Lunches are free and hosted at the JMU Ice House from 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Parking is available at the JMU Ice House, without a parking pass, for the duration of the presentations. No registration is required.

Spring 2019


February 5, 2019
A Preview of the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler
Carved by industry and renewed by nature, the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler include 40 acres of native plant galleries built around six abandoned soapstone quarries. The gardens showcase habitat modeling in 14 ecozones and seven conservation areas, and also demonstrate how local native plants can be used in domestic settings. Further information may be found at

Presenters: In 1991, while living in Baltimore, Armand and Bernice Thieblot purchased the 600-acre property on which the Quarry Gardens are located as a weekend getaway. In 2014, after 23 years of casual site clean-up, the Thieblots embarked on a three-year plan to create a public garden with the assistance of the Center for Urban Habitats Charlottesville. The Quarry Gardens opened in the spring of 2017 with about two miles of walking trail, more than 30 galleries of native plant communities, and a Visitor Center that includes exhibits on native plants, local ecosystems, and the history of the soapstone industry in Schuyler.

February 19, 2019
Were the Good Old Days Really That Good?
We’ve all heard about the good old days – a period preserved in memory that was presumably easier and better than the present era. Although nostalgia may cause us to yearn for those long-gone moments, were the good old days really that good? What can looking at historical photographs through fresh eyes reveal about the past? Come explore what Valley life was like nearly a century ago by taking a collective look back at the people and places that populate our local visual archives.

Presenter: Back by popular request, Greg Owens will present historical photographs of local life as it used to be.


March 12, 2019
Monumental Concerns
We create monuments to connect our past with our present – the living with the dead. Monuments reveal both who we were and who we are. But what happens with these timeless memorials when public beliefs change or societal values shift? What are we to do with monuments that remind us of a history we no longer want to face?

Presenter: Dr. David Ehrenpreis is a professor of art history at JMU whose areas of expertise include nineteenth and twentieth century art and architecture, German art, and Art and Nationalism. Dr. Ehrenpreis is also the founding director of the Institute for Visual Studies, a multidisciplinary center for the scholarly, scientific, and creative inquiry into the nature and workings of images (

March 19, 2019
“. . . arranged according to his own taste & convenience”: Thomas Jefferson’s Private Suite at Monticello
Join us for an inside look into Thomas Jefferson’s private suites and how the retired statesman lived and worked. We will discuss recent discoveries, how the suites have changed over time, and the complexity of family life at Monticello.

Presenter: Diane Ehrenpreis has been employed at Monticello for 16 years and currently serves as the Associate Curator of Decorative Arts. She is an art historian who has published and lectured on Monticello’s interiors and furnishings. She is particularly interested in what material culture reveals about the lives of others.


April 2, 2019
Find Yourself in the Music: The Garth Newel Experience
Learn about one of the hidden gems tucked away in the breathtaking splendor of the Allegheny Highlands: the Garth Newel Music Center located in Hot Springs, Virginia. Executive Director Shawn Puller will take us on a historic journey of this extraordinary, award-winning music center, from its early beginnings as a horse farm to the dynamic, year-round chamber music venue of today.

Presenter: Before becoming Executive Director of the Garth Newel Music Center, Shawn Puller frequently graced several concert, recital, and opera stages. He has performed with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the new music group Ensemble X, and remains a featured performer at Garth Newel. Dr. Puller completed his Ph.D. at Florida State University in Music Education and serves as a lecturer for several Lifelong Learning Institutes across Virginia and guest instructor for numerous domestic and international workshops.

April 16, 2019
Undeniable Volunteering: Blue Ridge Court Appointed Special Advocates
The world can be a difficult place, especially for children who have limited control of their circumstances and environment, particularly in early life. Children are also often among the primary victims of the opioid crisis sweeping the nation, leaving many without a caring adult or home.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a national association that helps abused and neglected children find permanent, safe and loving homes. Come learn about how the child welfare system works, why it is currently overwhelmed, and what you can do through volunteering to help secure better futures for area children.

Presenter: Juan Pablo (JP) Berrizbeitia serves as CEO of the Blue Ridge CASA for Children, whose mission is to advocate for abused and neglected children. JP obtained his law degree from Andrés Bello Catholic University in Venezuela. He also holds a diploma in International Development from the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague, Holland) and additional master’s degrees in Law from Harvard Law School and Warwick University, England.

April 23, 2019
The Amazing Doctor Within
Join us for an in-depth look at the body’s innate intelligence, reflected in its ability to self-heal and self-regulate. We will discuss how this “internal doctor” operates and how our daily activities and personal habits can compromise our body’s natural healing system from working to its full potential, resulting in various health challenges.

Presenter: Dr. Dan Atwell has operated a family wellness practice in Harrisonburg for 17 years. He focuses on teaching patients how to live naturally and establish healthy lifestyles by addressing the physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that depreciate health. Dr. Atwell is a graduate of Bridgewater College (1997) and Logan University (2001).


May 7, 2019
A Nation in Crisis: The Neuroscience of Opioid Addiction
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 50,000 deaths occurred in the United States during 2017 due to opioid overdose. This presentation explains what opioids are and why they are so addictive and dangerous. Join us as we explore the neuroscience of opioid addiction and how prescription drugs like Oxycontin® are connected to heroin and carfentanil use, often with deadly consequences.

Presenter: Anne Henriksen is Faculty Emerita at James Madison University, where she served as professor in the Integrated Science and Technology Department for 19 years. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical physics from The University of Virginia and an MBA in management science from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Henriksen has spent the last eight years studying neuroscience, neuropharmacology, neuroendocrinology, genomics, and bioinformatics.

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