Science Bloggers for Students DonorsChoose Challenge

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Serenity Pool

I've been busting my hump - with life, the Carnival (what fun), the dissertation (I know the numbers aren't moving but I'm working). I realize I needed a little bit of peace.
Enjoy.

This is also my first time participating in Watery Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Diversity in Science #1: Black History Month Celebration

Welcome the Inaugural Edition of Diversity in Science Carnival! This carnival celebrates the people of science and engineering – those who innovate, invent, research, teach, and reach out. This Blog Carnival tells the stories of achievement and perseverance. Why is such a celebration needed? Many reasons, but as Molecular Philosophy put it best, it is to showcase the individuals of science as ROLE MODELS. I think we have a fine list of Role Models for the Black History Month edition of Diversity in Science Carnival.

The Pioneers
This section is a tribute to those who have achieved despite barriers to participation and success. What Black History Month Tribute to Science wouldn’t include at least a blurb about perhaps the most famous Black Scientist known? None. That is why I’m leading this carnival with a post about George Washington Carver, agriculture scientist and peanut product developer, written by me.

DrugMonkey really took on the science blogger diversity challenge, writing four profiles, one of which is Faces of Neuropsychopharmacology: Percy L. Julian, Ph.D. Dr. Julian attended DePauw University, but due to racial segregation he wasn’t allowed to live on campus and most of the town’s restaurants refused to serve him. He eventually found work firing the furnace and doing other odd jobs for a (white) fraternity. In return, he was allowed to sleep in the attic and eat at the house. But you can’t keep a determined person down. He graduated Valedictorian and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vienna.

Interestingly, many great scientists and innovators have been lost to our common knowledge of history. Lillian Nattel, a Novelist, shares with us a discarded chapter of one of her novels about 1890’s Chicago. She submitted a beautiful narrative – *An African-American Pioneer in Medicine – an account of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a Black Surgeon.

Another medical innovator is profiled by Adventures of a Funky Heart. Steve Catoe, an adult congenital heart defect survivor gave us a throwback post about Vivien Thomas, co-inventor of the lifesaving Blalock-Tuassig Shunt. Dr. Thomas’ story is so amazing, so inspiring that a TV Movie was made about him and his scientific achievements, Something the Lord Made, starring Alan Rickman and Mos Def.

Finally, homage is paid to a scientific pioneer in my own field, Animal Behavior - Dr. Charles Henry Turner. In fact, there are two entries about him, Charles Henry Turner: Animal Behavior Scientist by me and A Beautiful (Black) Mind: Charles Henry Turner by Black on Campus, a blog that features historical pictures of African-Americans in higher Education.

The Innovators
This section could also be called the Patent-holders, since each the profiled innovators were involved in patented inventions. Alice Pawley of ScienceWomen re-introduces readers to a pioneering innovator, Mr. Lewis Lattimer who worked with the team that invented the light bulb filament.

Chick with PhizzleDizzle, a blog about the world of Computer Science, writes about Kunle Olukoton, the brains behind Sun Niagara and server-class chip multiprocessing platform.

I am especially glad that this carnival appeals to more than science and engineering bloggers. Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Internet Law Attorney Brett J. Trout, who blogs at BlawgIT offers an amazing Top 10 African American Inventors list. He even includes a patent number of an invention of each of his finalist. Go on Brett, way to connect your blog theme to this carnival!

The Achievers
As this carnival got underway DrugMonkey made a poignant point…profiling persons more accessible or current and connecting someone who may be more “familiar to us right now can be much more inspiring than a remote genius who is in many senses an outlier or oddity”. I agree whole-heartedly. Profiling living breathing scientists is as essential as paying homage to history. And Drugmonkey introduces us to three of his/her colleagues in Drug Abuse Research: Carl L. Hart, Ph.D., Yasmin L Hurd, Ph.D., and Chana K. Akins, Ph.D.

Canadian Girl Postdoc in America holds down the Math representation is this carnival with an introduction to Associate Professor of Mathematics University of California at San Diego, Kate Okikiolu'. She further enlightens us by providing some hard statistics on the number of Black female and female recipients of advanced degrees in math.

Miriam G. of The Oyster’s Garter introduces us to Dr. Tyrone Hayes who speaks for the frogs, or rather spits dope rhymes for frogs. He is truly my kindred – science, big hair and hip-hop. And you must check out his rap about the effects of Atrazine on frogs.

Speaking of kindred spirits, Thesis with Children author, AmceGirl writes about Dr. Erick Jarvis. Like her, before becoming a scientist he was a dancer. He now studies molecular behavioral mechanisms of bird song as has a faculty position at Duke University.

Obviously, Chemical Oceanography Professor Dr. Ashanti Pyrtle is so nice, she was mentioned twice! Sciencewoman’s piece, Dr. Ashanti Pyrtle: Combining a love of science with a passion for mentoring and Miriam G’s brief bite Dr. Ashanti Pyrtle, radioactive superhero attest to her scientific hotness.


The Influencers
Nurturing and mentoring upcoming scientists and engineers was repeatedly discussed at ScienceOnline09. Many have ‘bemoaned the difficulty of hiring minorities and felt there just aren't any out there!” Then as Zuska says, maybe you need to get off your behind and start mentoring and growing some’. The following profiles are of the people who are doing or have done just that.

Thus Spake Zuska introduces us to Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, a Physiologist who became first a Department Chair of Spelman College and is now Provost and Academic Vice-President of Drew University. Administrative positions are equally important for career advancement, role modeling, and mentoring of new scientists, especially for members of under-represented groups.

Dr. Isis introduces us to Dr. Avery August, Professor of Immunology and Co-Chair of Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Molecular Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University. He takes his science and science mentoring seriously; and participates in a doctoral bridge program between his institution and Historically Black College, Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

Such programs that bridge connections between minority and majority institutions are key to cultivating new scientists and engineers. GrrlScientist shows and tells us all about a wonderful program - The NCCU BRITE facility with North Carolina Central University (a historically black college) in the Research Triangle.

Pat C. of FairerScience tells of the greatness of Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. Like our other influential scientists in administrative positions, Dr. Freeman is a college President and “he has been the point person in creating an environment where successful minority science students are the rule not the exception.” The Meyerhoff Scholars Program of University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC – a majority institution) is perhaps one of the most successful STEM diversity initiative programs in the United States; it certainly is the most inspiring one.

Finally Dr. Free-Ride of Adventures in Ethics and Science, shares a very personal Profile of Mentoring and her relationship with Dr. James E. LuValle. LuValle, who earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry under Dr. Linus Pauling, won a bronze medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and was the first African-American employee of Eastman Kodak, was also the Retired, yet retained Professor and Director of Undergraduate Chemistry labs at Stanford University. She had the opportunity to be mentored by him and learn that “she could do it” and become a grown-up scientist, thanks to his kind and patient ear and advice.

Still a long way to go
Finally, there is still more road to cover. Greg Laden recounts a few personal incidences from his life when he has come face-to-face with the lack of inclusion of African-Americans in science and science discourse.

Finally, Journeys of an Academic reminds us that too many great innovators have gone unremembered with the post about Otis Boykin. Besides the knowledge that he was an Electrical Engineer who invented the control unit for the pacemaker, very little else published about him or his other achievements.

Like Academic, I too wonder “how many other great thinkers have been abandoned by the historical record…As science, technology, engineering and mathematics generally present themselves as being more about the idea and less about the face of the person who generated the idea, how can we keep the various people from fading into obscurity?” I think discussions in real life and online (like this blog carnival) that celebrate the people of science is one way not to forget.

Join us late March/early April as Diversity in Science and Scientiae celebrate Women’s History Month and salute woman achievers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. To give you a little taste, check out Phlebotomy’s 50 Must Read Women Science Bloggers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Animal Tracks & Signs


For all of my loyally readers who love the blog and have wished you could take it along with you when you were exploring outside, I have the perfect field guide for you!
Author: Jinny Johnson
Published by National Geographic
Animal Tracks & Signs is perfect for animal lovers and junior naturalists of all ages. It is 192 pages long, but it isn’t meant to read in one setting or at bed time. This really is a reference book, complete with pictures, details, and explanations about a wide variety of animal species. As often you go outside and observe nature, you will use this book. In fact, I recommend taking it along with you on your outdoor adventures and nature walks in your neighborhood.

What I like about the book:
The foreword, by John A. Burton. He gives readers a glimpse into the challenges that wildlife film makers and photographers must overcome to catch those breathtaking shots of our wild neighbors. Tracking and finding animals are long and painstaking tasks. Without basic naturalist skills like close observation patience, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy fine animal programs and photographs.

The How-to Section. You can jump right in and look up information about that critter you spotted the other day, but there are also a few pages in the front to get you prepared for animal watching. Different types of animal tracks and the related foot anatomy and movement of the animal is explained, as well as how to make plaster and casts of animal tracks are also provided. This book is the Official Urban Science Adventures! ©Field Guide.

The Biodiversity. It isn’t an exhausted list of every species known to humankind, but it does introduce us to every basic kind of animal, even voles. With the exception of polar biomes, this book introduces readers to mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects and invertebrates from around the world.

The index card-like details. Illustrations or up-close photographs of animals are provided that includes a quick summary about its size, where the animal lives, what it eats and what eats it and other interesting facts. Plus, accurate pictures of animal signs like webs, tunnels, droppings (or poo), nests and dens, bird pellets and life size silhouettes of its tracks.
Plus, the book gives attention to the ecological roles of the animals described. No animal exists without its habitat and other requirements for life. It explains with pictures and brief details how to locate the homes of secretive animals and how to identify animals from simple clues like its tracks, scat, pellets, nest shape, or flying silhouette.

This book is amazing! Go and get it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Charles Henry Turner: Animal Behavior Scientist

Charles Turner was born in 1867 to newly freed slaves. He was raised and schooled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact he earned his undergraduate degree (B.S.) and graduate degree (M.S.) from the University of Cincinnati. In 1907 he earned his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago. Moreover he was the first African-American to earn these advanced degrees from each institution.

Dr. Turner is indeed an academic Hero of mine and a Pioneering Innovator in my field of study, Animal Behavior. In fact, he published papers about insect behavior and navigation (as well as animal physiology) in journals like Animal Behaviour and Science Magazine, and is recorded as the first African-American to do so.


He served as chair of the Science Department and taught Biology at for a time at Clark University (now Clark-Atlanta University). Turner-Tanner Hall is named in his honor. He also inquired about a teaching and research position at Tuskegee Institute. However, it is said that Booker T. Washington was unable to pay the salary of two distinguished science professors, since George Washington Carver was already on faculty. However, he eventually settled in St. Louis, Missouri and taught at Sumner High School, the first high school for African-Americans west of the Mississippi River (in the United States). Though many documents record him as teaching biology at the high school, Sumner was also a Normal School, akin to a Teachers College, and he may have taught college or preparatory science courses, too. Regardless, Dr. Turner maintained scientific productivity, conducting research and writing papers on various subjects.
Of special note is his work with Hymenopterabees and ants and how they navigate and communicate. He conducted his groundbreaking research on honey bee memory, color-vision ability, communication and navigation at O’Fallon Park, in North St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Turner believed that bees may be creating, 'memory pictures’ of the environment, a very novel idea at time. Yet, today we know that scouting bees can accurately communicate the location, distance, as well as quality of a field of flowers to hive mates.
After his retirement from Sumner in 1922 and death in 1923, a nearby school in the same neighborhood was named in his honor. The Charles Henry Turner Open Air School for Crippled Children was founded in 1925. Later the school was renamed Turner Middle School. Today he is also honored by the international members of the Animal Behavior Society. He is recognized as not only a pioneering professional in the field but a role model. The society’s undergraduate diversity program is named in his honor.
List of links with more information about Dr. Turner and his legacy.
Planet Science Out There – Black History, Charles Henry Turner
Dr. Turners Doctoral Dissertation, this should give me inspiration as I write mine. If he can do it with a full time job, a family, deal with racial disparities, and no internet, then I can do him proud by finishing mine and I have far fewer life distractions.
A Brief Biography of Charles Henry Turner
Chronology of Charles Henry Turner
Biography of Charles Turner
Bug Watching With Charles Henry Turner (Naturalist's Apprentice Biographies) A book by Michael Elsohn Ross

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Wonder Up Yonder

This week’s Thematic Photographic 36 - is Up – another perspective challenge - photos taken of things up above and towards the sky. This is another popular perspective for me because of trees and animals that live in them. Here are a few samples.

A very large bowl-shaped bird nest, species unknown
Unidentified tree from Forest Park (St. Louis)
A tree from my backyard (Ash, I think)
Bird Nest made with trash (I love the color of the sky in this picture)
Tree with several hollows made by Woodpeckers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black & Brown Faces in America's Wild Places - A Picture Book.

Okay, I dropped the ball on Monday Book Reviews. I am very sorry about this. Travel and conferences can take it out of me....And I know that Dissertation Progress Meter hadn't moved much and my deadline is less than 48 hours away. Watch how busy I will be in the next two days.

But thanks to the conference and a session I attended - Chicago Wilderness: Integrating Biological and Social Diversity into the Future , I met the panelists, one of whom told me about Dudley Edmondson and his book Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places. I must disclose that I have NOT read this book. But I am recommending it - to myself and to you.


Edmondson is a Photographer and Outdoor Lover who took on the task of documenting people of color enjoying the outdoors. He created this album of photos to dispel the notion that African-Americans do not enjoy the outdoors. Here! Here! And he provides stock photos of people of color engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, enjoying nature as well as general nature, wildlife, and landscape photos. Where was this resource when I was working with the Missouri Department of Conservation trying to do outreach with North St. Louis Communities? At one point, my team and I were trying to put together a display board to would serve as a visual aide to why visiting the natural areas were great. But all of our photos of people hiking, fishing, biking, kayaking, and bird watching were of people who looked nothing like our target audience. If only I had known.


Check out Edmondson's Photography Website: Raptor Works Photography.
I'm getting back to work on the Dissertation now...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Recaps from the AAAS Conference

Interacting with other scientists is one of the best parts of attending conferences like these. With this being such a large multi-discipline conference, I'm meeting scientists, engineers and educators of every type.

In fact, I bumped into fellow science blogger ScienceGeekGirl at a lunch counter. Dr. Stephanie Chasteen is a Physicists and Science Education Consultant in real and virtual life. Actually I had met her a couple of years ago at a NSF Communicating Science Workshop in Lincoln, Nebraska. I remember her because she was working for the Exploratorium, a fabulous science center in San Francisco. I wanted to do what she was doing - Informal Science Education, but with Life Science. It's always great to meet a blogger in real life.

A special highlight was meeting Dr. Sue Carter. She is a fellow vole researcher and she studies the social relationships and hormone responses of prairie voles. I've read many of her papers.

Although the it is a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, its actually an international organization. I attended a few receptions that bring everyone together in a social setting and I've made some new friends as a result.









*****

My quest to get Al Gore to sign my copy of An Inconvenient Truth was dashed when I ended up in the overflow room for the talk. I ranted on about it. No matter, he flew in just moments before the talk, did not take questions and left immediately. However, the talk was fabulous! Check out what my friend Lyndell had to say about talk.



**********
And finally it was Dance time! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard voice call out my screen name - "Hey, there's DNLee". I looked around and there was the Gonzo Scientist himself. The creator of the "Dance Your Ph.D. Contest" right before my eyes. The dance interpretations of the winning videos were fabulous. I really don't have the words to describe it. As soon John makes the videos and photos available I will post the link because you must see it.

Congrats to the winners, whose YouTube videos were great in their own rights, too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Largest General Science Conference Meets in Chicago

This weekend (February 12 -16, 2009) I am in Chicago attending the annual meeting of The American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS publishes the magazine Science and is the world’s largest general science conference. Thousands of scientists, including students, educators (K-12 and college), policy-makers, and researchers, will be in attendance in a city that is one of America’s Scientific Hubs.

The theme for this year’s meeting is —Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures—recognizes that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The theme also addresses many of the upcoming challenges our planet faces – climate change and environmental impact. There will be a broad range of activities for registered attendees and the general public.

I was especially excited about the Communication Science to Broader Audiences Workshop, on Thursday, February 12th. It was an all-day clinic for scientists and engineers who are interested in public outreach. I learned alot. I even did a sample "interview" to briefly introduce my research. Well, I've got some work to do, especially with my facial expressions and hand gestures. Look out for my 'before and after' Communicating Science segment.

Former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner, Al Gore, is the special invited guest speaker for Friday, February 13th. I’m taking my copy of An Inconvenient Truth with me in hopes that I can get him to sign it. Also this evening, is the “This is Science” Dance Program. I actually submitted a video for this competition, but did not make the cut. The four winners will have their science research performed by professional dancers. I am really looking forward to the dance interpretations.

Plus, there are a host of symposia and talks about the environment, education, evolution, and science careers that I am looking forward to. However, I am disappointed that NPR Science Friday, with Ira Flatow will not be in attendance. I had my mind set on meeting him. But hey, it's not all bad, look who I bumped into on the elevator after the Society's Presidential Address - the opening talk:
Yes, that is THE Dr. Shirley Malcom, Head of AAAS Education and Human Resources Program. She is my Science Outreach and Educator Shero - she's all about scientific literacy and education. She was very nice and gracious and indulged me this photo.

The continues all day Saturday (February 14) and Sunday (February 15) with more presentations and the Family Science Days. This program is free to the general public. My mother and niece are trying to come down to spend the day with me. I’m very lucky to have a completely nerdy family that loves this stuff as much as I do. There will be exhibits and demonstrations from the local Universities and Science Centers. I’m looking forward to meeting some fellow Outreach Scientists and possibly networking. If you live in the Chicago area, I invite you and your family to come down for the day. It is a fun time and a chance to nurture those young minds. Plus, I would love to meet you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charles Darwin was a Naturalist, Just Like You!

Today is the 200th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and I am at the world’s largest scientific conference, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago, Illinois. Everyone here is very excited about this landmark with 2009 being called the Year of Darwin. So why is Charles Darwin a big deal? Well, Charles Darwin was a Naturalist, just like you! A Naturalist is a person who observes and studies nature. Many naturalists are trained as biologists, but you don’t have to have a college degree in science to be a naturalist. When you spend time observing nature in your backyard or neighborhood parks, you are acting as a Naturalist.

In 1831, Charles Darwin began a five year adventure on the HMS Beagle that took him around the world exploring what was then considered the exotic lands of Southern Africa, Australia, South America and the Galapagos. He observed plants, land and marine animals including invertebrates, reptiles, mammals, LOTS of beetles, birds and mammals. Darwin was also a geologist so he took very good notes about the environment, landscape, and soil types of these different lands. It was these observations -- of the lands and of the plant and wildlife -- that caused him to ponder the diversity of life forms. Through his travels, he noticed each land had unique life and geologic forms, yet these differences emerged subtly. He later developed his thoughts into a thesis – the Origin of Species – which interprets the diversity of life by evolution through natural selection.

An illustration from the 100-page comic about the life and ideas of Charles Darwin Darwin: A Graphic Biography by Simon Gurr and Eugene Byrne, © Gurr and Byrne. If you can find a copy of it (print or online) check it out and learn more about Darwin and his adventures.

Happy Birthday Chuck! I Blog for Darwin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Beauty Down Below

This week’s Thematic Photographic 35 - is Down – a perspective challenge - photos taken of things on the ground or looking down or near the ground. I actually take many of my nature photos from this perspective because that’s where the subjects are – grass, flowers, seeds, leaves, and streams. Here are a few samples.

Sycamore pod
Sweet gum pods
pine needles
moss
echinachea or purple cone flower
water grass in a stream
clover grass
pine cones
black walnut seeds

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The George Washington Carver Exhibit at the Missouri History Museum


Last year for Memorial Day I was in Chicago. There were signs everywhere advertising an upcoming exhibit about George Washington Carver, quite arguably, the father of African-American Science. Though I visited Chicago a few more times over the summer and early fall, I was unable to make the exhibit at the Field Museum. Then lo, as I was enjoying one of the last Twilight Tuesdays concerts of the 2008 season, I saw a familiar banner. The George Washington Carver exhibit was soon coming to my town! How lucky I felt. I really wanted to see this exhibit. And anyone who knows me – as an educator and scientist – knows how I get can get swept up in a learning theme. I mean what’s better than imparting information about a host of subjects – science, social studies, agriculture, ecology, history, politics, business – than through all-engaging real-life theme.

I feel many connections to the Carver story. His first learning experiences were while he was outdoors playing. He studied agriculture – so did I in college. He did not attend a Historically Black College or University. He believed in vocational purpose and his work was intended to help those who would benefit from his inquiries the most, the under-served rural African-American community. He was eco-conscious and promoted environmentally friendly living and farming. And as I learned during my visit to the George Washington Carver Exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, he was an Outreach Scientist, as I aspire to be. He readily shared his knowledge with others.

In 1896 completed his graduate studies in Agriculture at what is now called Iowa State University, considered one of the leading universities in agriculture education and research. He was immediately recruited to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama by Booker T. Washington. The college was an active learning center. Students worked and learned simultaneously, applying the concepts and principles of knowledge on campus – either building classrooms or farming the fields.

Academically, Carver was a perfect fit for the institution. True to his agriculture training, he was an applied scientist. He used knowledge gained from basic science to solve humanities pressing problems such as hunger and economic disparity. His understanding of ecology, mycology, soil science, chemistry, crop rotation, fertilization, pest control, and use of rhizomal plants like peanuts, revolutionized farming. He helped farmers take better care of their soil so that it could provide the food and cash crops needed to support their families.

Related to that, he developed countless ways to use these novel crops – soybeans, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. Unlike cotton, the cash potential for these crops was considered very low. As a result of his diligence, Carver discovered expanded food and nutritional use for these crops, such as flour, candy, oils, and sugar. He developed hygiene, household, and industrial products, too -- such as lotions, cleansers, renewable fuels, paints, and stains. Because all of these products were from plants, they were lower in toxicity, had less of a negative environmental impact, were renewable, and biodegradable. In fact, many of his agriculture approaches are now the foundational concepts of Eco-conscious and Sustainable Living. He encouraged farmers and families to compost and rotate their crops and he routinely recycled and repurposed discarded items. Professor Carver was Green, all the way!

However, Carver believed his research was pointless if he could not bring knowledge to the people. He published bulletins in simple everyday language to communicate with teachers, farmers and housewives how to cultivate, grow, and prepare products from soil to table. And there was the Jessup Wagon. The Jessup wagon was a movable school that Carver and his students used for community outreach. They would park the wagon at public events fairs or after church and deliver the information directly to the people. The wagon included educational materials about better farming practices, including charts about farm animal husbandry, farming products and equipments, as well as demonstrations and samples of crops and soil samples. He even enticed the farmers with product giveaways such as seeds and farm tools. The whole of his academic endeavors were dedicated to helping poor rural farmers get the most of their land and he used every media method available to him to reach people.
This fabulous exhibit ends on Monday, March 1, 2009. Don’t miss it or else you will have to go to Dallas, Texas, were it is travelling next.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Book Review: Bees

Title: Bees of the Animals Animals Series
Author: Judith Jango-Cohen
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

This book describes the physical characteristics, behavior, and habitat of bees. It is a perfect addition to your classroom or home school animal series library. It is a classic trade book that is an ideal introductory text to bees, their habits, and how people benefit from bees. Each chapter describes a different aspect about bees – what they are, how they eat, how they design their homes, and how they work together in a colony. And the detailed illustrations are amazing. This would a perfect book to write a book report on if you are teaching or raising a budding young ecologist.

Bees are amazing. Plus, we’ve all got to learn more about them in order to save them from this mysterious disease that is causing so many of them to disappear. We depend on bees to pollinate our food crops so our very lives depend on the buzzing bee. And if you’re really excited about bees and want to learn more, you may want to enroll in The Bee Course offered by the American Museum of Natural History.
It is a nine-day workshop held at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Arizona, from August 31 to September 9, 2009. The course is for anyone who requires a better understanding of bee taxonomy and identification – for example conservation biologists, pollination ecologists, environmental educators, and novice bee researchers or keepers.

Fees are $650 for the course (tuition waivers may be available) and $610 for room and board.
Follow think to access the APPLICATION FORM. Deadline is Monday, March 1, 2009.

For more information about the course, visit: http://research.amnh.org/invertzoo/beecourse/

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