Outreach

Next BeeBlitz: Saturday, September 14, 2019!

On Saturday, September 14th, we will have our second training for the STL BeeBlitz at Forest Park. All it takes is a camera, a patch of flowers, and you!

After a crash course in “bee photography”, we will work in teams to set up survey plots and conduct photo surveys. Your photographs will help biologists track bee populations around the nation through iNaturalist . (Download the iNaturalist app, now! It is incredibly easy to use. Just sign up and join our project: STL BeeBlitz.) Throughout the event, you will learn about bee biology and how you can support wild bee populations.

To learn more, check out the BeeBrigade page and don’t hesitate to contact us (email: nicolem42@webster.edu, office: 314-246-7628, or cell: 314-218-5307) . We will be sending updates and invitations throughout the summer.

The St. Louis BeeBlitz is organized by the St. Louis Bee Brigade (a collaboration between Webster University, St. Louis University, BeeSpotter of the University of Illinois), Academy of Science of St. Louis, and Forest Park Forever.

PAST ACTIVITIES:

Solar Eclipse Celebration on Monday, August 21st, 2017!

At 1:17PM on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the St. Louis region was cast into darkness by a total solar eclipse. Over 800 people joined Webster University faculty, staff, and students in celebrating this amazing event (the last one occurred almost 100 years ago!). Festivities will commence at 11AM at the East Academic Building on Webster University's St. Louis campus. Webster University professors, including your-truly, engaged participants in activities based on the science behind eclipses. We then observed the eclipse in all its glory from the top of the Garden Avenue Parking garage!

In order to better understand the biological impacts of a total eclipse, my collaborators from the University of Missouri and I implemented the Beeclipse Citizen Science Program. We invited 5th and 6th graders from five cities in four states along the path of totality to acoustically monitor bee activity during and after totality. Over 340 students from Steger 6th Grade center in Webster Groves participated in the program! They designed a protocol to documented bee activity using audio recorders, and helped professional scientists analyze the data using Audacity, a free sound analysis program.

Click here to see photos from the event and enjoy the video presentations (my presentation "A Wrinkle in Biological Time" begins 1 hour and 21 minutes into the video).

Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to enhancing the public understanding of science. I continue this work as a faculty member at Webster University working with St. Louis area teachers to enhance science learning, citizen scientists to monitor local bee populations, and regional science foundations to reach broad publics interested in STEM.

As a post-doc at the University of MIssouri, I administred as a mentor to and educator of the next generation of science communicators through the ShowMe Nature GK-12 program at the University of Missouri (learn more about ShowMe Nature GK-12). In addition to mentoring graduate fellows as they engaged 4th and5th grade students in authentic research experiences, I taught a course designed to enhance fellow communication skills to the broader public. As part of this course, fellows create Virtual Research Broadcasts, which bring a portion of their research that is normally not accessible to their students (such as laboratory work or field excursions) into the classroom.

I also established the Ecology Teaching Team of the Young Scientist Program and mentored three high school students in the YSP Summer Focus Program. Through one-on-one interactions with scientists and independent research experiences, YSP encourages and supports students from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuing scientific careers.

Alex Lobzhanidze, a graduate student in Computer Science, and me illustrating a Virtual Research Broadcast (VRB) to ShowMe Nature GK-12 graduate students. VRBs engage K-12 students in laboratory and field research that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.