Phew, am I worn out! It's been quite a week, with THREE different types of science communication speaking events on my schedule. It's been so much fun, but for an introvert like me it's been a lot of face time. I'm glad to just veg for a bit after this.
On Thursday last week, I participated in an event through the Graduate School called "GradX". I prepared a five minute TED-style talk about my research for a broad audience, something I haven't done before. I was a bit nervous since I knew I wouldn't really be able to look at notes, but boy was it a fun time! I really enjoyed the opportunity to craft my research, which is very heavy on coding and remote sensing, into a five-minute talk that my family and friends would enjoy. The recording is here (apologies in advance for the poor audio quality and video angle), and a transcript can be found here.
Saturday: People & Nature
Saturday was the big day: A few colleagues (Anita Simha, Jon Choi, Lane Scher) and I collaborated to put on an all-day symposium for our department called People & Nature, which had originally been slated to take place in March of 2020 (shout-out to Brandie Quarles and Alex Loomis, who did a lot of the planning in 2020!). You can read more at the webpage, but in essence the symposium was about how people and nature interact, with three focuses: Ethnoecology, Place-Based Research, and Environmental Justice. We asked speakers to consider the following questions, and I think they're worthy of sharing here as well:
Tuesday: Skype a Scientist
Finally, Tuesday I was delighted to be invited to video call with a kindergarten classroom in Farmville, VA, through a program called Skype a Scientist. It was SO MUCH FUN! I love teaching kids about science, and of course they loved that a lot of my presentation was about poop. I showed lots of pictures of the cool animals and plants that I encountered in South Africa, and asked them questions like "If you were a plant, how would you keep animals from eating your leaves? How would you convince them to eat your seeds?". The poop came in when we discussed the role that frugivores play in spreading seeds far and wide, and we got to play a guessing game with a marula seed I brought from South Africa. Last but not least, we did a bit of show and tell with two snakes that I am pet-sitting, Porkchop and Ghost. The kids went absolutely bananas for them, and really made me wish we could have been in person. Still, what an awesome opportunity, and I'm SO excited to get matched again.