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Science as Leisure

Liz Marchio

I am a trained ichthyologist interested in what gets people interested in natural history, biological sciences, and science careers. My passion is to find out what fuels curiosity for the natural world.

Biology-related serious leisure activities can impact people's interest in ecology, biology, and natural history. Do these activities promote biological understanding? If so, how does that progress and to what level does it progress to? 

If you're interested in a starting a dialogue, please feel free to contact me. If you're curious about how I got here, my story can be found on the About Me page.

 

NotW: Dr. Scott Edwards - An Ivy League Naturalist

I am going to start a Naturalist of the Week (NotW) post in order to highlight some of the amazing science-minded people who are also naturalists.

Maybe you're wondering, c'mon, aren't all scientists naturalists? Nope! Some sit inside and do lab work all day and may not have any interest at all in nature. Also, "scientist" is actually a pretty general term. People who study all kinds of phenomena are scientists and I'm more interested in those who are naturalists! (Aren't you??!)

 

The first Naturalist of the Week is Dr. Scott Edwards: 

Birding with Dr. Scott Edwards in Louisiana! Pictured is me, Dr. Edwards, and Malorie Hayes. Photo by: Katie Sternberger

Birding with Dr. Scott Edwards in Louisiana! Pictured is me, Dr. Edwards, and Malorie Hayes. Photo by: Katie Sternberger

I met Dr. Edwards in 2011 when he gave a seminar talk to Southeastern Louisiana University. He was not only an excellent speaker, but allowed us graduate students to take him birding in the Louisiana bayou! He is not only an excellent scientist but also a naturalist, leader, and role model! He also has a good sense of humor when dealing with crazy Louisiana students!

Breakfast with Dr. Edwards

Breakfast with Dr. Edwards

As with a lot of "professional naturalists",  Dr. Edwards' interest in ornithology (study of birds) and natural history began as a child growing up while living in the Bronx. He was a smart cookie to begin with- he earned his undergrad degree from Harvard and during that time took a break to decide if he wanted to pursue biology and move onto graduate school. To do this he volunteered at the Smithsonian in D.C. where he effectively became a field biologist through his studies in natural history and conservation of birds in Hawaii and northern California.  

He did his PhD at UC Berkeley and spent almost a year in New Guinea and Australia volunteering in research on birds-of-paradise and studying the genetics and population structure of  babblers (Pomatostomus) found in Australia and New Guinea. 

Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis). Photo by David Taylor.

Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis). Photo by David Taylor.

He is currently Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research aims are to unite genomics and natural history while he endeavors to involve students at all levels in the wonderful world of natural history and science. 

Kudos to you, Dr. Scott Edwards! Truly an Ivy League Naturalist! 

Visit Dr. Scott's faculty website for more information! Most of this information was gathered there but it's only the tip of the iceberg! 

If Dr. Edwards is reading this, I'd like to talk to you more about your personal natural history and how you became a naturalist and professional scientist! 

Click the banner to check out Dr. Edwards' website at Harvard! 

Click the banner to check out Dr. Edwards' website at Harvard! 

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