Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blogging my way to the Antarctica…and beyond

There is an online contest sponsored by Quark Expeditions to become the Official Quark Expeditions Blogger. The winner gets an all-expense paid excursion to Antarctica February 20 – March 3, 2010. And you could help send me to the South Pole - a dream of mine!

What does it take to be the Official Quark Blogger? They’re looking for someone with a commitment to the environment; a passion for the polar regions, and an ability to write in English with wit, style and imagination. That is SO me, don’t you agree? Oh, and someone popular enough for people to tune into. So that’s why I need you and everyone else you know to vote for me. The person with the most votes wins.

With each post, I share the exciting and wonderful world of science, conservation, environmental education and urban nature appreciation through my blog Urban Science Adventures! ©

I routinely posted about the polar biomes, including posts celebrating International Polar Year. I love sharing science; and I especially enjoy bringing the beauty and excitement of nature to someone’s attention who thought there was nothing there.

Just like I share my everyday backyard adventures with you, I will share accounts of the beauty and stories of adventure of life at the South Pole! You know I will. So, please send Urban Science Adventures! © on a Polar Adventure next spring.

The competition closes at noon, September 30, 2009, EDT. In order to vote you will need to register with the website (bots can’t vote) and one vote per email.

Visit my very own voting page and vote for me.


P.S.: If you’re feeling very generous (and still procrastinating with work/school), I’d love you this blog for the 2009 Black Weblog Awards Best Science and Technology Blog. Thanks to your generous support last year, this blog was a finalist for the award.
Nominations end July 25.
Please click on the image below and name Urban Science Adventures! © as your favorite Science Blog!

My site was nominated for a Black Weblog Award!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reaching the under-served

Notes from the Blogging While Brown Conference
Chicago, Illinois

Workshop: “What’s next for traditional media?”
Participants: Monroe Anderson, Eric Easter, and Bruce Montgomery

The conversation, initiated by Eric Easter of EbonyJet.com went like this:
“Some people think that EbonyJet should be a CNN [for black people]. No it shouldn’t. Black people watch CNN and they get all the other news offered by mainstream news outlets. So our purpose is to present that news and explain what it means to black people, how that information relates to their lives.”

So I pondered….EbonyJet relates the commonly known news to the lives of their special audience – the African-American demographic.

But is it fair to assume that all news is so common and that everyone has such easy access to this information. And then I thought: What about news information that is known to have low reporting and low specific audience reporting? Science.

Then Deborah Small made a valid point that EbonyJet elevates celebrities above academicians.. I totally agree! The response from Mr. Easter:
“When we go to the publishers with this same issue - try to add more substance to the features- they push back. That type of content doesn’t sell magazines!”

For real? So, it’s all about selling magazines. I get that selling magazines is the goal, but must it be the only goal? I was under the impression that Ebony Jet once had a responsible role in the African-American community. What has happened? Have they changed or has our perception of them changed?

There was some hub-bub. My hand was quickly in the air, but I wasn’t called on. The conference organizer even got in on the action, Gina and as she correctly noted that this actually identifies an opportunity for someone (a blogger) in this room to fill. One or all of us could create the vehicle and supply this information we are complaining about EbonyJet not providing.

However, I do take issue (or two) with this proposal.

For one, as online people we tend to attract others like us and few people not like us, i.e., other smarty-pants type bloggers.

Two, EbonyJet has access to a demographic (and a rather dedicated one at that) that I and many others would like to reach. Activism or actionism is about reaching more than the choir. It’s about reaching people who need the help most and are the least likely to participate (out of fear, economics, no access to info etc) – the underserved. For me, EbonyJet has a direct line to one of my target audiences – the African-American community. So, why can’t a compromise be reached? To me, effective science outreach means reaching the most under-served audience. And if the point of EbonyJet, and other black media outlets, is to relate to people – to bring relevance and information to people – then it can’t just be about appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Live from Chicago...It's Blogging While Brown Conference

I am attending the Blogging While Brown Conference. I wrote about my feelings about this conference previously, here and here. Thankfully a scholarship became available and I was able to attend.

I’m meeting new people and hearing some interesting ideas. However, I keep referencing this blogging conference to the other blogging conference I have attended. Hmm, still comparing the two. Maybe I should stop that. But I also keep thinking about all of the posts and pictures (and my goodness – a Carnival!) I have in progress in word files, in electronic photo albums, and the cobwebs in my head…I’m reserving all of my best energy and writing for the dissertation, which by the way is progressing. I’m a little behind turning in stuff to my lab mates, but I have meeting this Monday and I’ll be back on track. The good news, my committee likes my chapter 1. It’s well organized and the recommendations are all for clarity!!! So, as I get things handed in to committee, I’ll be sharing my Urban Science Adventures! ©

Back to the conference….
So far, there are three – 3 – STEM bloggers here. Me, Dr. Rabiah and Adria
The workshops have been informative, and I’ve been interested in the Branding Workshop. My purpose in attending this conference had to do with the developing notion in my head of reaching African-American audiences (an under-served group) and engaging them in science. I’m learning some things and synthesizing even more information.
I finally met Fredrick of YBPGuide.
Plus, I’m twittering about the conference at #bwb. Follow or contribute to the conferencePictures from the conference so far are below.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: She Daisy

A She honey bee collecting pollen and drinking nectar from a Daisy.

Photo taken at Crown Valley Winery in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri.
No doubt these bees will be pollinated the grape vineyards, too.

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