Saturday, October 3, 2015

Passing It On

Now that we're back from Iceland (by the way, we're back from Iceland!), we can finally think beyond the Hengill weather forecast for tomorrow. On Friday, E.O. Wilson came to MSU to help present the American Computer & Robotics Museum's E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Awards. During a question and answer session, a student asked Dr. Wilson how to get people to care about biodiversity, even when it doesn't provide any direct benefit to the person. Dr. Wilson's response? "Three words: education, education, education."

At that point I was feeling pretty good about myself, since it just so happens that I spent most of Friday knee deep in a creek, getting middle schoolers interested in stream bugs. Here's a secret: it's actually pretty easy. Throw some waders on them, hand them a net, and make sure they don't wade into a deep pool. Then step back and let them explore.

"Who wants to hold a bug?" Just about everyone.

Many of them were amazed how easy it was to find life in the stream, especially once I pointed out that all those "sticks" were caddisfly cases. Notable catches of the day included a cranefly larvae as big around as my pinkie, a crayfish, and one very confused sucker. But the real highlight was seeing a bunch of kids get excited about a world they hadn't known was there.

Future stream ecologists?

The aftermath: well worth it!

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