Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednsdays: What is it?

Can you guess what this is?

Kind of looks like fireworks. Very pretty, I think.

Take a closer look...

Take a step back..





It's Honeysuckle, the viney kind that grows on fences. This is what it looks like in the winter when the flowers die and I assume those are the exposed seeds.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review: Tough, Toothy Baby Sharks

As promised in a previous post, I am delivering Book Reviews every Monday on Children's Books about science. I think I should have enough books to offer a review each week until the spring.

Here is the first recommendation in the series.

Title: Tough, Toothy Baby Sharks
Author: Sandra Markle
Publisher: Walker Young Readers Books

Markle rarely disappoints. She is an amazing children’s science book author. Her work appeals to students, teachers and scientists alike. This book was one of my personal favorites for the 2007 Animal Behavior Society’s Outstanding Children’s Books Award, but did not make the finalist list. *Sigh* So I am personally endorsing it as OUTSTANDING! Ms. Markle writes in such an engaging style; the text is very easy to read. In fact, I learned A LOT about sharks – their reproductive habits and early life behavior. This is the perfect book for kids (and adults) that love Shark Week! It also includes great photos of different species of sharks and their babies. This book rocks!
B&N Synopsis
Even before they’re born, baby sharks have to be tough to survive. Some that grow inside their mothers compete with their womb-mates for food, space, and their very lives. Others have to escape as soon as their mothers give birth to avoid becoming her tasty snack. If they survive those rough beginnings, baby sharks then have to figure out how to make it in an ocean teeming with predators. Brilliant color photographs reveal how shark pups grow from tiny eggs into giant eating machines, reaching the top of the food chain in all the world’s oceans. Science expert Sandra Markle’s introduction to baby sharks provides rare glimpses of these creatures at their most vulnerable and will captivate young fans of nature’s toughest creatures.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Give the Gift of Science Literacy

Merry Christmas! My Christmas gift to all of you is the Gift of Science Literacy. I was browsing my Dec 5 2008 copy of Science and they provide a list of books for readers of all ages: Science Books for Fun and Learning--Some Recommendations from 2008. There are some very interesting titles, including one about Dr. George Washington Carver for young readers. (Just get ready for a whole lot of talk about Dr. GWC. St. Louis is hosting an exhibit about him and I get completely caught up in learning themes.) There is another book, Animal Tracks & Signs, which also looks great. It is a hands-on science/activity book that fits in perfectly with what I share on this blog. Think of it as a supplemental text to all I discuss here.

I have some recommendations, too. Click on the link to read my full review of the titles.
Book Review: Little Lost Bat
Book Review: Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
Book Review: Pre-K Books – Hello Bumblebee Bat, Vulture View
Book Review - Ecology and World Biomes Series
Recommended Children's Science Literature - Book Reviews - Predators of the Sea, Survival Secrets of Sea Animals
Recommended Children's Science Literature - Book Reviews 2 – Octopuses, Where in the Wild: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed, Naturally Wild Musicians: The Wondrous World of Animal Song

For three years I have had the special privilege and responsibility of reviewing books for the Animal Behavior Society’s Outstanding Children's Book Award. In 2001, the Animal Behavior Society established the Outstanding Children's Book Award in order to encourage and reward accurate and compelling authorship of children's books about animal behavior. Members of the Education Committee read dozens of children science books and select up to five finalists that best represents and explains animal behavior for student readers in grades 3-5. School children rank the finalists and pick the winners and runner-ups for the award. Please check out the reviews of the titles that made the Finalist list in previous years.

New books have started arriving for the 2008 Animal Behavior Society Children’s Book Award. My new shipment of books reminded me of all of the book reviews I have from this spring that I’ve been meaning to post. Each Monday I will post a new review, so please check in. I will be submitting these book reviews to the Book Review Blog Carnival, which I just discovered yesterday. (Merry Christmas to me.) The most recent Book Review Carnival is posted at Maw Books. There are several great books listed, not just science books. But two science book reviews that are listed include Antarctica: Life on the Ice (my nod to International Polar Year) and Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers by John Robinson.

Have a Merry Christmas and Literary New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays: Merry Christmas

a fir and berries

holly berry bush


Submitted to Thematic Photographic 30 - Holiday

Monday, December 22, 2008

Black Scientists Contributions on Exhibit in Chicago, St. Louis

Going Green is not new, and neither is the participation of the African-American Community in the Green Movement or Green Economy. Dr. George Washington Carver (a Missouri native) was essentially the leader in U.S. Green Innovation. This winter, two cities will host exhibits that pay special tribute to his and other Black Scientists' contributions.

Scope Out Black Creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry

Botanist and inventor George Washington Carver and modern-day black contributors to ecology, conservationism and environmental issues will feature in Chicago Museum of Science and Industry’s 37th annual Black Creativity celebration: Green Revolution.

On view from January 15th to March 1st, “green pioneer” George Washington Carver, whose studies and teaching revolutionized American agriculture, will feature along with the contributions of black farmers, engineers, designers, plant geneticists, entrepreneurs, and historically black colleges and universities.

Read the rest of the article at

Exhibition George Washington Carver at the Missouri History Museum St. Louis

Through rich imagery, historical artifacts, audio-visual programs, and hands-on interactives, visitors will discover how Carver went from slave to scholar, his pioneering of natural product development, the work he did to resurrect the soil of the South, why he was the people’s scientist, and what his legacy is today.

This exhibition was created by The Field Museum, Chicago, in collaboration with Tuskegee University and the National Park Service, and is on exhibit November 29, 2008 - March 1, 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice - Happy Holidays

Today is Winter Solstice - the shortest day and longest night of the year. For many it is a welcomed natural event - the return of the longer day. But the surrounding wildlife also marks its life calendars with the waxing and waning day length. As the days lengthen plants invisibly respond - shifting their sugar and nutrient stores to branches and limbs to sprout new leaves or blades of grass or beautiful flowers in the spring. The hormones of animals are responding so that they can be ready to mate and have babies in the spring. The soltice is like a magical clock setting for our natural world.

Enjoy the day and weather. If you indulge in winter recreation and sports that might not be so hard, but if you're not I know how it can be a challenge. However, bundle up and get out there anyway. The nature outside your window in winter is not the same as the nature in the spring, summer or fall.

The winter gives you a time look at your neighborhood anew. Leafless trees give you a chance to appreciate their height, shape, crown, spread and size of branches... a closer look at the bark, twigs, buds, and fruit...

and a chance to see animal signs like old bird nests.
Snow covered grass looks like green icicles.
Snow and ice covered lichens can now capute your attention

So have a happy winter solstice...

and a happy holiday.

Happy Hannakah and Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Science Blogging Interview with Miss Baker's Biology Class

Science Blogging for Education takes on many forms. One interesting blog is a group-authored blog - Extreme Biology - that is operated byMiss Baker's Biology Class of high school students at The Calverton School (a small school tucked away in Southern Maryland, USA.)

The students and their teacher will attend the ScienceOnline09 Blogging Conference. They will be moderating a session: Science online – middle/high school perspective (or: “how the Facebook generation does it”?). I look forward to meeting them and their session.Erik, a student of Miss Baker's interviewed me. He thinks my blog is really cool and offers alot of "good information for everyone, especially people who live where nature seems devoid". Thanks, Erik.
He asked me questions such as:
What subjects in science do you find most fascinating and why?
Were you always interested in them?
What is you best advice for kids who live in urban areas where nature seems missing?
Find out the answers to these questions and more at their super fabulous, award-winning science education blog at: An Interview with Danielle Lee, Author of Urban Science Adventures.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays: Hawk on Campus (Urban Wildlife Watch)

A rare chance to photograph a Hawk (a Red-tailed or Roadside Hawk, I think) in the city. Yes, predators like hawks and raptors live and some thrive in urban and suburban areas. I found this one perched in a tree on my campus – UM-St. Louis near the parking garage on North campus as I was headed to my car.


behind and underneath my best shot yet

Views of the campus (its habitat) that the Hawk was surveying. It didn’t score anything while I watched it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Year of the Frog - The End Draws Near

I’m really late bringing this to you. I’ve narrated this blog entry dozens of times in my head, but wasn’t quite sure what to say and how to say it. But better late than never. Better some than none.

This year, 2008, is the Year of the Frog. No, it isn’t a new animal sign on the Chinese calendar. It is an animal sign of our planet course to peril. The Frog and other amphibian species are indicators of our ecosystem’s imbalance. And indicator species is any species (plant, animal, or microbe) who’s presence or absence, abundance or scarcity or whose health tells us something is good or bad in the environment. Frogs, toads and salamanders live in two worlds – the wet aquatic world and the drier terrestrial world. So balance between these two ecosystems is very important for these species. For several years ago, some ecologists noticed that frogs and toads in some places were very sick. Some would not develop past the tadpole stage, some died young, and other developed abnormally having too many or too few legs. Plus, more recently, amphibians have been declining. Frogs are dying! What’s a spring or summer evening without the chorus of frogs?

Learn more about Frogs and why they matter at the official website, which is sponsored by Clorox Bleach. Educators and after-school leaders, here is a link to lesson plans (thanks to Discovery Education) about Frogs and Conservation. Both are great websites, so I encourage you to explore them and see what activities you can take you pollywogs. Pun intended.

The Panamanian golden frog

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays: Seagulls in the City

Can you spot us? Downtown Chicago, Illinois
November 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Five Things Meme - Weekend Fun

I was tagged by MG at The Oyster’s Garter. She’s one of my internet/science blogger friends and I will get to meet her in January at the ScienceOnline09 Conference in January. Here I go.

5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago:
· Just starting research and my Master’s thesis with meadow voles
· Beginning to dislike my job as a tour guide
· TA an undergrad biology lab, Anatomy & Physiology I think
· Shuttling my younger siblings to school
· Wishing I had a new car

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:
· Work on my abstract for a symposium
· Write my dissertation, Chapter 1
· Call my Little Sister to see if she wants to hang out
· Check in with my dissertation advisor
· Start writing an article for a local newspaper

5 Snacks I Love:
· Cookies
· Potato Chips
· Chex Mix – Cheese Flavored
· Kettle corn
· Cheese and crackers

5 Things I’d do if I was a Millionaire:
· Create an endowment for community-based projects in poor urban neighborhoods
· Create an endowment to fund research projects of my friends and other graduate students – but the grant must be written in poetic form – sonnets, limericks, and haikus – more money for the best written proposal with the fewest words.
· Create and produce my own Science Television Show.
· Tramp around the US and world filming my television show, visiting my friends and students whom I have funded, featuring their research on the show.
· Take care of my family

5 Places I’ve Lived:
· Guyana (South America)
· Cookeville, TN
· South Memphis, TN
· St. Louis, MO
· Whitehaven Memphis, TN

5 Jobs I’ve Had:
· Grocery Store Cashier
· City Tour Guide
· Toy Store Employee
· Parks & Rec Aide
· Americorps Supervisor

I tag Intisar, Lisa, Samia, Lyndell, and Gandalf & Grayson

Friday, December 05, 2008

Increasing Diversity in the Sciences with Mentorship and Conference Attendance

I am continuing the dialogue about Increasing Diversity in the Sciences. This time I examine the initiatives of professional organizations to provide travel awards and mini-mentorship opportunities to undergraduate students to attend scientific meetings.

Scientific meetings offer tremendous learning and networking opportunities for students. This is especially true for students who are members of traditionally under-represented groups. Though you may be one of a few brown or young or feminine faces at the conference, many societies are working hard to get you at that meeting and to keep you coming back. Because conference attendance is not cheap some scientific organizations actually offer travel awards to attract undergraduates to International and National meetings; and they offer mentorship to students who are attending professional conferences for the first time. My primary professional organization, the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), has been a leader in increasing diversity in the sciences. The Membership and Leadership of this society has always been quite progressive. For years the organization has offered a Diversity Travel Grant for students from traditionally under-represented ethnic groups and students from Developing Nationas to attend the annual meetings. Moreover, these travel scholarships are largely by donations from individual members.

In 2002, ABS furthered its commitment to diversity and education when created the Charles H. Turner Program for undergraduate participation at the annual Society meetings. With generous support from the National Science Foundation, the ABS Diversity committee brings a group of about 10 undergraduates to the meetings each year, covering all expenses, and providing a full program of mentoring events including a pre-meeting workshop and mentors. Charles Turner was one of the very first African-American researchers in animal behavior. Among other things, his research showed that insects can hear and exhibit trial-and-error learning. Dr. Turner was a high school biology teacher at Sumner High School in St. Louis, MO. Turner Middle School in the Historic Ville Neighborhood is named after him. By naming the undergraduate program after him, the ABS Diversity Committee emphasizes its goal to increase the diversity of its membership by encouraging researchers of all ages, levels, and ethnic groups to participate in the annual meetings.

Also, the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) announces the availability of undergraduate student awards for travel to attend their annual SWS meeting – June 22-26, 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin. The SWS is committed to increasing diversity in its membership and is offering full travel awards and mentoring at the meeting for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups –African-American, Native American, Latino American, Pacific Islander, and persons with disabilities. These awards are supported by the National Science Foundation and individual SWS chapters. The areas of interest of the student participants range from freshwater to marine and involve a wide variety of organism types. Undergraduate participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An undergraduate student is a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associates degree. Students who are transferring from one institution to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate. Spring 2009 graduates are eligible as well.

Application materials and additional information are available from Dr. Frank P. Day, Old Dominion University( Application deadline is December 17, 2008. So apply now and spread the word.

I hope more students at the high school level and beyond become aware of such programs and take advantage of them. I realize not everyone who participates will necessarily stay in the sciences, but I believe having such experiences and meeting people is worthwhile and informs a student’s future career decisions. Any other comments?

Article orginally posted at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Animal Tracks in the Snow

This is my submission for Thematic Photographic 26 - Sweet. Why are these pictures Sweet!? Because I was able to capture some really great animal tracks in the snow and ice. Tracks are the best way to see proof of some animals, especially mammals. All photographs taken at Brown Lake, Burlington, Wisconsin over Thanksgiving break to my family.

Various animal tracks, undetermined.

Goose tracks at the boat dock behind the house. Distant and close-up.

Rabbit tracks - standing still.

Rabbit tracks Close-up

Rabbit tracks - in sprint.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

National Props for Local Science Blogger - The Love continues.

All Grins. Why? I'm happy for all of the support and snaps for my science blogging. That's a picture of me in my "office" Panera Bread Company. hahaha. I often blog from here or one of my other "office" spaces like Starbucks, Borders, etc.

Anyway, a big shot out to K. Shafferkoetter of the Press office of my university - UM-St. Louis. Thanks to her I got a really great review and nod from Confluence City, a local news blog that has some affiliation with local media companies.


Related Posts with Thumbnails