Saturday, 23 March 2013

PhD week 55: Outreach

Ivey Hall, Lincoln University

This year marks 150 years since the establishment of Lincoln township, and the occasion was marked by a range of activities and festivities held over the past week. On Thursday, the University welcomed the community onto the grounds and held tours around the campus, and had a bunch of stalls manned by enthusiastic people to show people a few of the things that happen at the university. I was one of these enthusiastic people, and my job was showing off the diversity of invertebrates that can be found in pasture.

I do enjoy talking to people about insects, and seeing their reactions to their encounters with them. It find it interesting how different age groups respond in different ways. Pre-school to early primary school age children show a great interest in things and will happily poke, prod and otherwise engage with insects. Late primary school kids start expressing fears and misgivings about various invertebrates, but usually end up interacting extensively with them. High school students loudly voice how gross and disgusting they find everything when they're with their peers, but if you get them by themselves they tend to show a lot more interest. Finally, adults take a very utilitarian view of things, asking what functions the organisms provide, and ask how to control particular species.

What I like most about this sort of outreach though is that most people, despite having a negative view of insects initially, tend to go away with at least a grudging respect for them. This, for me, makes it all worthwhile.

   Ferngren GB (Editor). 2002. Science and Religion. A Historical Introduction Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press
   Hughes P (Translator). 1937. Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas. London: Sheed and Ward
   Proverbs 22–24

Tortricids of agricultural importance

Star Trek: Enterprise Season Three

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

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