The Wild Life of Chimpanzee Nests

We share a lot with you, dear readers. Some might say too much (ahem, the plight of our own armpit bacteria, for example). Yet believe it or not, we don’t share quite everything. Sometimes we’re working behind the scenes, out of the public eye, cooking up a new project, developing a nugget of an idea or cultivating a collaboration. Sometimes it takes awhile to get these new things organized, to gather all the ingredients, to slowly bring the collaboration or project to a boil, to get an idea to a stage where it’s ready for public consumption. It may take some time, but rest assured, when it’s ready, [...]

Before They Were Scientists: Julia Stevens

Julia Stevens has traveled to more countries than she has states in the US. Before she was a globe-trotting scientist, Julia was a middle school student in St. Louis, MO, and Dallas, TX, where she played on both the volleyball and basketball teams. Middle school was the time when Julia learned to be fiercely independent and to try to not care what everyone else thought of her. Learn about her life before she was a scientist…

Lea: Do any memorable classroom moments stand out from middle school?

Julia: I remember giving a presentation in history class and for five straight minutes pronouncing the word “corps” with the “p” sound. It wasn’t [...]

Your Wild Life goes to NSTA|Boston

This past weekend I attended the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, joining 11,500 other educators who were passionate and enthusiastic about SCIENCE! I learned a lot about what science teachers are looking for in regards to materials in support of the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the increasing demand for citizen science-based lesson plans so that students can be more involved in their community (and as a bonus, a network of scientists). It was all pretty whirlwind and exciting, to say the least!

Here’s a Storify of the conference, with more details to come about the one hour workshop that Kristin Bedell and [...]

By |April 10th, 2014|Education|0 Comments|

Serving Up Beer (and Science!)

Generally speaking, any time we get to leave the confines of our labs and offices to engage the public in the science of their daily lives, we’re pretty stoked.

When that public engagement has something to do with BEER, well, that’s just AWESOME.

So was the case Saturday when Your Wild Life, in partnership with the NC Science Festival and the NC State Brewing Lab, set up shop in the Science of Beer Tent at the World Beer Festival in downtown Raleigh.

We served up samples of three beers, inviting Festival guests to participate in an experimental taste experience, an experience for which they had to thank a wasp, [...]

Before They Were Scientists: Stephanie Schuttler

Dr. Stephanie Schuttler grew up in Buffalo, New York, and went to a middle school that embraced high student achievement. There she wasn’t considered a nerd or picked on for liking conservation or listening to Nirvana. She spent time enjoying “splash hikes” with her family during vacations – putting on old sneakers and hiking up a streambed instead of a trail. It was her parents’ love of nature that eventually led her down the path towards biology. Read on to learn about Stephanie’s failed middle school science experiment, her grad research on elephants, and how she came close to a goth phase.

Lea: Do any [...]

Yeast. Bugs. BEER!

Collaboration – when scientists come together to share knowledge and know-how in order to tackle complicated problems, answer tough questions and develop big new ideas – is one of my favorite parts of the scientific process.

When the outcome of a scientific collaboration is something DELICIOUS, that’s MAGICAL.

Over the last couple months, we’ve been part of a team that includes microbial ecologist Anne Madden (who will join us soon as a new postdoc), Anne’s undergraduate students, and John Sheppard (NC State’s resident beer scientist). Our challenge: find wild yeast, more specifically insect-associated yeast, that could be used to brew beer (and more specifically, beer that tastes good).

And guess [...]

Before They Were Scientists: Madhu Katti

Dr. Madhu Katti’s (center, above) middle school experience in India was different than that of most American middle school students. Rather than worrying about social pressures from peers, Madhu and his fellow middle school students were preparing for the medical school entrance exam! Read on to learn about the times he proved his science teacher wrong and failed a big math test, setting the course for his scientific career.

Lea: What do you remember about Middle School?

Madhu: I did my schooling in India – we didn’t really have middle school. We went through grade 10 and then 11th and 12th we called “junior college.” That’s the way the [...]

Backyard Bees

**Entomology graduate student April Hamblin will be studying bees in backyards across Raleigh this summer, and she’s looking for folks to volunteer their yards as field sites. Read on to learn about her study and how you can get involved!**

One of my happiest childhood memories is sitting on the back porch at my grandmother’s house, enjoying a fresh slice of watermelon, slopping the seeds down my shirt, watching the birds pick blackberries from the bushes across the street. I didn’t know then that the birds and I relied on pollination for much of our food, but I did know that if I did not clean myself off, my grandmother [...]

Quiz Time!

Everyone loves a good quiz – even the Buzzfeed variety, you know the kind that you see on Facebook ALL. THE. TIME. The kind of quiz that helps you determine what actor would play you in a movie of your life or what literary couple best represents you and your significant other.

Recently, we’ve seen a couple of quizzes that are not only FUN but, GASP, might provide an opportunity for you to learn something interesting about the biodiversity in your daily life.

Last week, the NY Times Well blog ran a story (written by former post doc and YWL team alum, Nancy Brill) about the Arthropods of [...]

Before They Were Scientists: MJ Epps

Mary Jane Epps (MJ) is a naturalist, biologist, entomologist, fungi-phile, old-timey music player, urban homesteader, self-proclaimed luddite, weaver and all around information gatherer. It’s fascinating to sit down with her and talk about any topic imaginable; by the end of the conversation you will come away with both new knowledge and a drive to research whatever you spoke about further, fueling future conversations. It actually doesn’t come as a surprise that MJ had such an incredible childhood – lots of time spent exploring and testing her survival skills outdoors with her siblings… and trying to start fires during recess.

Lea: Were you cool?

MJ: Definitely not!

Was anyone cool? Tell us what [...]