Science Outreach

Sampling aquatic insect with high school students from Kugluktuk, NU and ArcticNet's Schools On Board program (credit: ArcticNet)

Sampling aquatic insects in the rapids of Bloody Falls with high school students from Kugluktuk, NU and ArcticNet’s Schools On Board program (credit: ArcticNet)

I love any excuse to talk about insects, science, and nature with other people.  I especially love watching the uninitiated make personal connections with the subject matter  – those “Aha!” moments that can inspire a lifelong appreciation for science and the natural world. I am always pleased to meet or speak with schools, special interest groups, clubs or societies.

I also recognize and promote the value of reaching a broader audience via online communication.

When I can, I blog about insects, natural history, research, and life as a graduate student for a general audience at www.thebuggeek.com, in the hopes of encouraging interest in nature, science, natural history and, of course, insects and other arthropods. I was also privileged to be one of two founding administrators of the official blog of the Entomological Society of CanadaESC Blog. This venture,  launched on June 1, 2012, has been widely successful and represents one of the few Canadian science societies with a non-static online presence.  Although other obligations have  prompted me to pass on my responsibilities to other capable hands, I’m proud of my role in this project.

Inspecting the contents of a beat sheet with local children during a "BugFest" event at the Yellowknife Heritage Museum

Inspecting the contents of a beat sheet with local children during a “BugFest” event at the Yellowknife Heritage Museum (credit: L. Hargreaves)

My internet alter-ego (“The Geek In Question” or “TGIQ”, for short) also regularly posts interesting and fun articles about insects, natural history, science, science communication and science education on Twitter (@GeekInQuestion) and on a Facebook page.

In January 2012 I created a YouTube channel called “MacOrganisms2” (www.youtube.com/user/MacOrganisms2).  The channel contains a series of videos (filmed and edited by yours truly) detailing the dissections that are performed in the introductory zoology lab that I’ve taught for the past four years. Although the videos were created specifically to address the needs of my own students, undergrads and high school students from all over the world have been using these as study aids. As of October, 2014, the videos have been viewed over one millon times. Here’s sample:

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