March, 2017. The month you got to name a new creature.

March 2017: The month you named a yeast.

As humans, we give significance to something by giving it a unique name: whether this is our pets, our boats, our children, or our sourdough starters. It is how we distinguish the specific from the general. It is not just “a child,” it is our child, “Adrianne.” It is not “a boat”, it is the working fishing boat off the cold Maine coast, “Harvester of Sorrows.” As scientists we give names as well. We give highly specific names to species such as “Homo sapiens” and “Canis lupus” to distinguish humans and wolves, respectively. […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

#NewYeastName Activity

Educators: We’d love to have your students help us name our new yeasts. Here’s some information to start the discussion with your students so that they can learn about the science of yeast.

Introduction to Yeast

Yeast are single celled organisms that are microscopic. They are actually fungi (like all mushrooms). They are a group of microorganisms that include about 1000 unique species.

Interactive visual of how small a yeast cell is in comparison to dust mites, red blood cells, and viruses

Baker’s yeast (one species of yeast) under a microscope

 

How do yeast grow?

Yeast make more […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

Updating the Species Scape

This post was written by Clint Penick & Magdalena Sorger

As the world’s entomologists gather in Orlando this week for the International Conference of Entomology (ICE), we thought it a good time to revisit the famous Species Scape—the illustration showing that insects make up the largest portion of life on Earth. We scoured textbooks, scientific papers, and online databases to find the most current numbers for all species that have been described. There are new winners and new losers, but insects still make up nearly half of all species.

The history of the Species Scape began when biologist Quentin […]

By | September 25th, 2016|Arthropods, Education, Explainer, Science Art|0 Comments

Students Discover: Ant Health Watch

**This is a guest post from postdoctoral researcher, Dr. DeAnna Beasley. Her research is NSF-funded by our Students Discover grant which partners scientists with educators to co-create citizen science projects and middle school lesson plans. The products of these partnerships can be found at StudentsDiscover.org.**

This past summer I worked with middle school teachers in the Kenan Fellows Program and undergraduate students from Shaw University and North Carolina State University at the beautiful North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Our goal was to develop a citizen science project that would engage middle school students in the classroom […]

By | September 21st, 2015|ants, Education|0 Comments

Students share eMammal!

On Thursday, March 5, eight middle school students from the classrooms of two 2014-2015 Students Discover Kenan Fellows, Dave Glenn and Dayson Pasion, presented their research on wildlife camera-trapping at the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) conference in Raleigh.

Over the last year, the students have participated in the eMammal citizen science project, deploying wildlife cameras in their schoolyard to capture animal activity. The students have been working in collaboration with scientists at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. At Burgaw Middle School […]

By | March 23rd, 2015|Education, Urban Ecology|1 Comment

Meet Your Mites: Family Style

Over the last few months, our first cohort of Students Discover Kenan Fellows have been busy in their classrooms piloting and refining the citizen science curricula they co-created with their scientist mentors from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

If you dropped by their middle school classrooms, you would have seen students busy collecting and analyzing all sorts of new data. They’ve deployed camera traps in schoolyards to capture the secret lives of urban mammals. They’ve planted dandelions in different soil types and sampled the changes in microbes over time. They’ve scraped oily goop from each other’s faces […]

By | March 11th, 2015|Behind the Scenes, Education, Your Mites|0 Comments

Before They Were Scientists: Monica Peters

When I first met New Zealand native and science/artist Monica Peters, she was attending the Citizen Science Association meeting in San Jose, California. After her presentation she boldly stated, “Watch this space!” in reference to the growing citizen science initiatives in New Zealand. It was intriguing to learn about the efforts of citizen scientists in New Zealand communities to preserve their local natural habitats. She also stated that she had come from a design background, but has found herself in this scientific world. Wanting to hear more, I scheduled an interview and we got a chance to speak about […]

By | March 6th, 2015|Before They Were Scientists, Education|0 Comments

Look but don’t touch

Watching Out for Nesting Birds

Look but don’t touch. This was a lesson I learned early on as a young boy, staring intently along with my grandmother at a bird nest. Inside a shrub-like tree, a bowl of straw lay almost hidden. Within it, several nestlings, their mouths wide open, were awaiting their next meal.

After a quick look, we hurried away, soon noticing that the mother robin returned with sustenance for her young. Folklore, of course, advises people to not harm bird nests, for doing so was commonly thought to bring bad luck (1). However, for many […]

By | February 23rd, 2015|Education, Nature in Your Backyard, Science Art|1 Comment

Before They Were Scientists: Mette Olufsen

Dr. Mette Olufsen found mathematics very easy in middle school and had an interest in biology. Yet, she never predicted that she would grow up to become a biomathematician, working in an interdisciplinary field that uses math to solve big biological questions. She describes a middle school experience that is very typical of Denmark in the 1970s: very free and focused on the importance of play and project-based learning, picking up three foreign languages, and adhering to the Jante Law.

Where were you in middle school?

I was in Denmark. We didn’t have middle school. We just had elementary school and […]

By | February 20th, 2015|Before They Were Scientists, Education|1 Comment

Our Bodies Are a Habitat

Thanks to PBS Digital Studios and YouTuber Coma Niddy we can now add face mites to the list of subjects featured in a science parody music video!

“You might not think you have mites. But you do! So face it, our bodies are a habitat!”

Head on over to Coma Niddy’s original post to read more about his experience meeting his face mites!

By | February 16th, 2015|Education, Video, Your Mites|0 Comments

Why We #CitSci

Your Wild Life is relocating to the West Coast this week to participate in the inaugural meeting of the Citizen Science Association in San Jose, California. We’re looking forward to two FUN-FILLED days of building connections and exchanging ideas with 600 other scientists, volunteers, data managers, educators, and science communicators who – like us – are dedicated to engaging the public in scientific research.

Together with our colleagues and collaborators at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, we’ll be sharing insights and lessons learned from many Your Wild Life projects including Belly Button Biodiversity, Wild Life […]

Tracking Turtles with Juliana Thomas

“We were tracking turtles today!” Juliana Thomas immediately and enthusiastically tells me after I asked her how her day was going; “We’ve never tracked them during the winter before. We don’t know what they’re doing.” Her turtle earrings, almost a perfect tiny replicate of the Eastern Box turtle, sway side to side as she uses her hands to describe the work of her students.

Since 2007 (over eight years at the time of this writing) Juliana’s sixth graders, along with the Centennial Center for Wildlife Education, has been working to track Eastern Box turtles using non-invasive telemetric […]

By | February 9th, 2015|Education, Feature|0 Comments

Before They Were Scientists: Mariano Vázquez

I recently interviewed physicist Mariano Vázquez. From his office in Barcelona, Spain, Mariano told me about the supercomputer encased in a crystal box located in a century old church a few hundred meters away from him. Read on as this Argentina native recounts how his time spent traveling around the world in a merchant ship with his family, the giant map on his childhood bedroom wall, and the invention of his own term for “scientist” all ultimately led him to a life of inquiry.

Lea: I’m excited to include your story in this series.

Mariano: I don’t know if it is going […]

By | January 30th, 2015|Before They Were Scientists, Education|0 Comments

Before They Were Scientists: Emily Graslie

In addition to interviewing traditionally trained scientists, I sometimes get the opportunity to interview the science communicators that help translate what happens in the lab to the rest of the world. Today’s interview is with the incredible science communicator, Emily Graslie. You may recognize her from her wildly popular YouTube series, The Brain Scoop, now based at The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Before we started our interview, with me in Raleigh and Emily in Chicago, we took note of our surroundings. Behind Emily were some familiar surrounds seen in many of her videos. We both clutch our coffee mugs […]

By | January 16th, 2015|Before They Were Scientists, Education|4 Comments

Starry Night Lesson Plan Now Available

Expanding on our work with Students Discover, we’re rolling out several new citizen science-based lesson plans on our Education page. Before the holidays, we released a NestWatch Lesson Plan, inspired by the long-standing citizen science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the coming months, we’ll continue to release new lesson plans focused on global, long-running citizen science projects, aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.

Our goals are simple:

  • Engage students in citizen science so they have opportunities to:
    • Participate in authentic scientific research.
    • Feel ownership over their learning.
    • Be part of a growing community of citizen scientists.
    • Improve scientific literacy by understanding […]
By | January 13th, 2015|Education|0 Comments