My mom loves hiking in the woods, taking photos of moss, pressing flowers, and identifying birds and animals we find. Anytime we are in a bookstore, she buys a book about tree identification or regional wildflowers. Some of my earlier memories involve her pointing out to the different birds at the birdfeeder (which she insists needs to be well-stocked all year), and telling me their names and their songs. Every Christmas and birthday, I got a science kit of some nature… including once a microscope. I remember being a young age, using the microscope to look at the dog’s hair and my own hair under the microscope. We sat around and talked about the differences between the samples. The act of observing differences found in nature, this is biology.
Mom has one of the biggest passions when it comes to the great outdoors, and yet, due to how biology was presented to her, she thought she didn’t like it. Think of how many other individuals fall victim to this mentality when science isn’t presented in a way that is accessible and fun. Science is amazing!!!!! Everything we do, how we do it, who we are, the environment where we live…this is all science.
I think about that caricature a lot, and I have it up in my living room so I can see it everyday. It reminds me of how important scientific outreach is, and why we need to bust misconceptions so we don’t deprive our future of brilliant researchers and passionate scientists.