But I am very happy about this year. It's been the best, most blessed year of my life.
Smooches to you all!
But I am very happy about this year. It's been the best, most blessed year of my life.
Smooches to you all!
Send me far, far away...only for a little while. I'm trying it again*, entering a Quark Expedition Contest to Blog my Way to the North Pole, this time. No thanks to climate change, the polar regions of our world are shrinking. The Arctic regions, also known as the North Pole, are the most endangered of the two.
I would love the chance to be your daily blogging correspondent to show and tell you about this majestic ecosystem.
My appeal essay is titled: Following in Matthew Henson's footsteps. If I win, then that's exactly what I will be doing, following in the footsteps of one of the world's greatest explorers, Matthew Henson. He is known as the first African-American to reach the North Pole, along with 12 others including Robert Peary.
|Mr. Henson. If I had Photoshop skills, I'd make a duplicate image next to him with my round face. But can't you just see me bundled up like this. Too cool! Literally and figuratively.|
|Cynthia from Shimmy in My Spirit made this card for my Antarctic campaign. Cute, ain't it?|
It’s that time of year for good cheer, celebrating, and holiday parties. I especially love attending networking holiday parties. And in the spirit of the holidays, many of these parties have charitable notions. Some ask for food donations, or to adopt-an-angel/family/child/senior. I love these themes.
However, my time serving and working in social service really forced me to confront the objectives of these gift-giving soirees. I mean, what does it mean to give a family requesting assistance with their utility bills a brand new game system or iPod? Something about that is not only ironic but completely opposite of the goal of helping families get on their feet. Moreover, I believe the gifts one gives should be meaningful to the giver, too.
When I was younger, and my mother made holiday gift donations, she always provided books. She didn’t want to bother shopping for clothes that might not fit or be appreciated and she hated fighting crowds in the toy aisle. Plus, she’s a big proponent of education so books are the best gift, fits everyone, lasts forever and keep on giving. So when I am asked to bring a toy for a child, I find myself browsing through the book shelves instead of the toy aisles. Moreover, as a scientist interested in sparking the excitement and wonder of nature in youth and adults of all ages, I tend to favor books about science, ecology, and achievement. But I’m biased. I liked books as a kid. I loved reading. I know there are children (and adults) who don’t like to read and might find such a gift insulting. So, I’ve stretched my imagination some, however, I still believe in educational gifts – gifts that inspire creativity and imagination, gifts that foster critical thinking and team work, and gifts that are gender-neutral.
So here’s my list of suggested educational, science/engineering, youth and adult friendly, gender neutral gift ideas.
1. Jigsaw puzzles (but depending on the age, not too many pieces, that could be discouraging). I chose one with North American Animals. I thought that perfectly reflected my values related to environmental education.
Looking back on my life and surveying my memories from my present vantage point - as an adult and a biologist with several years of school under my belt - I sometimes realize that I knew I would be a biologist.
As I stroll along walkways or drive down the street, I sometimes find myself completely entranced by the subtle plots of nature happening before me. These surreal pauses seem to hit me especially hard when I encounter a tree or flower that for some reason is bookmarked in my mind, but I don't know it until that very moment.
I was literally walking down the street, headed to my car and saw this.
I've got to make a confession. I really don't give reptile (or amphibians) their just due on Urban Science Adventures! ©. I'm a mammalogist, true and through. But I'm also an opportunitist, which is why I feature so many plants, flowers, and trees in my post. They never go anywhere.
But I was able to get a really great photo of a garter snake this summer at camp.
On my list of 100+ Things to do outside – a growing list of suggestions for family-friendly outdoor activities, this is activity #47. See a wild snake.
I have a list of 100+ Things to do outside – a growing list of suggestions for family-friendly outdoor activities.
#77. Catch a Frog. I’m actually pretty good at this. I think it’s because of my years of handling voles. Voles are quick little field mice. I handled them throughout graduate school. I had to learn to handle them in a way that was firm – because they will squirm and wiggle and try to get away, but at the same time gentle – because I wanted them alive. After accidently killing a vole trying to handle it, I learned quickly how to catch, pick up, handle and move the little critters – both with gloves and without. I later found on a class field trip to Guyana, that this skill was transferrable to other small, fast critters.
So, I caught my very first frog. It was in the evening in the mountains near Kaiteur Falls. There are these teeny tiny frogs, about the size of a quarter, maybe smaller that have skin so thin you can see the organs in their bellies. Armed only with a head lamp and listening closely, I reached out onto the tall bushy grass and just grabbed at the distinctive metal like croak…and I caught one. In my hand, tiny and wet and fabulous was this little guy with a big voice, singing into the night – along with all of his brothers in search of a willing mate.
I was exhilarated. Since then, I’ve been a frog and toad catching queen. Grabbing and holding and posing away. Her e are some shots from this summer, the urban summer day camp with Boys & Girls Club kiddies.
September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic/Latino American Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 - October 15, annually. What better way to celebrate this diversity awareness month than with blog articles about the people who make a difference in the world? In Diversity of Science Carnival style, bloggers are invited to celebrate the people who make contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Write and submit your posts about a mentor, friend, historical figure, teacher, or student who makes contributions in STEM to society.
|Macroinvertebrates are very good indicators as to the health of a stream, lake, or pond|
|The presence of many different species and other predatory invertebrates is a good sign that the water habitat can support many food chain levels.|
|Healthy fish species are also a good sign. Remember, vertebrate species like fish and birds ultimately depend on invertebrate, microbe, and plant species for their survival, too.|
I was always in love with music. I learned how to change radio stations on our old school 8-track record player console by the age of 3. I knew what I liked: piano melodies, bass guitars, drum beats, and catchy hooks, also known as chorus. And then I discovered hip-hop. Like a scence from Brown Sugar, I remember when I fell in love with hip-hop. It was 1985, and I was mesmerized by Whodini, and the rapper Jaleel - "Five Minutes of Funk" is still my jam! Many, many, many years later I got a chance to see them perform and lo and behold I heard the opening 8 beats to the song. Next thing I remember I cleared the stage landing in one step (wearing high heels mind you) and took the mic from Jaleel and rapped his verses to the song.
Yea, I love hip-hop and many might be surprised as how knowledgeable I am in all of the various hip-hop and rap demonimations. I ham a Hip-Hop Maven....and I'm also a nerdy girl. Proud to be both. So that brings me to my newest blog project - SouthernPlayalisticEvolutonMusic. It's a science blog about evolutionary biology explained via hip-hop music examples. It's housed at Southern Fried Science Network.
Why a new blog? It's a completely different topic - Evolutionary Biology; and it's new voice for me. I'm primarily writing to an adult audience. I'm not using foul language or anything, but the evolutionary topics of sexual selection and mate choice are thoroughly explored. Plus, I will likely be sampling some songs with colorful language. I wanted to keep the voice clear and respect the following this blog has aquired. This is an introductory science blog about urban ecology that reaches diverse and family-friendly audiences.
I am keeping this blog and plan to re-assume my blogging frequency of 2-3 posts per week. I'll be taking it easy over at the other blog, once per week as I build an audience.
In the meantime, please follow me on Twitter as I talk about all things science - urban ecology, informal science education, evolution, and STEM diversity @DNLee5.
I have been busy. As I am sure you all have noticed by my blogging frequency. (And let me say I am very thankful that you all have still been with me through all of this). 2010 is definitely becoming a breakthrough year professionally: defending the dissertation, graduation, working, presenting.
The truth is, the busy-ness I am experiencing in real life is the result of my online science blogging activities. How paradoxal, huh? If you follow the blog on Facebook, you might have noticed the tick in professional activities. I've been trying to convert the blogging audience into an online community and so far so good. I've been posted pictures and updates directly to the Facebook Fan page. (And if you're so inclined, please join, too.)
Quick recap of this summer achievements:
1. Submitted a video to the Oprah Winfrey Network contest to have my own televison show. I didn't place, but I'm still proud that I finallyput my vision to words, pictures, audio and video. Many thanks to my sister for editing and creating this audition video. So, if anyon out there knows of a media outlet that would be interested in such a program (produced/hosted by me of course), please feel free to get at me.
On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, THE Dr. Mae Jemison spoke a room of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators and advocates at the state of Missouri STEM Summit presented by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
As I listened to her keynote talk: "Diversity in STEM: The New American Imperative", I fought hard, very hard, to control myself. I was not only super excited about seeing her in person, but was so moved by her words. She discussed shy science literacy matters for everyone, EVERYONE, and why bringing more women and under-represented minorities into STEM career tracks is critical to our nation's success. As she put it, training ALL of our students in STEM prepares them to take jobs in innovation; or alternatively for those that do not wish to become scientists or engineers, we want them to be ready to understand and use new technologies and make decisions about science and tech policy or personal matters is important.
|Dr. Jemison talking with a high school student from Kansas City. The young lady was sharing her interest in science.|
|My picture with Dr. Jemison, along with the outreach staff at St. Louis Science Center|