Searching for children’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) based gifts isn’t hard. A google search will turn up items like building blocks, Lego, electronic/snap circuit sets, robotic kits, electronic toys, K’NEX, telescope, test-tube kits, science in a box kits etc. etc.
While these choices are great, why not instead buy something different – like the younger versions of the toys – tools, I mean tools- that ecologists use?
Despite much searching I couldn’t find any useful lists on the web to refer you to. So I’ve made my own based on my childhood, presents we have been given, suggestions given to me and from the experience of having four children of my own.
This list is sorted from least to more expensive; these gifts will keep on giving and fuel the ecologist in any child.
I looked around. I swore I heard someone calling out. The silver wattle swayed. The mountain ash towered. No. I must have been dreaming. I was tired. I reckoned I still had enough daylight to do one more site but maybe the three I had done would do. I was stuffed. I shook my head and refocused.
“Helloooo? Moss Lady. Are you there?”
I wasn’t dreaming. The Melbourne Water crew thought it amusing that I would spend my days looking for moss. ‘Moss Lady’. It was novel and easier to say than my real name, so it stuck. I doubt they actually remembered my real name.
As a child, getting out in the Australian ‘bush’ was a regular event (image taken ~1982)
My father scanned all the family photos and it has been interesting to compare the places we visited back in the 1970’s and 1980’s with what they look like now. But what also struck me was the importance of our holidays, from my childhood to now.
Filing the photos made me realise that for me, my childhood camping trips with my family in the Australian bush are what I would class as my first and most significant childhood introduction to ecology. I also believe it influenced why I chose to become an ecologist.
What was your first significant encounter with the environment as a child? Do you believe it influenced your subsequent career choice?
Research involving historical data can turn up many a query and solve many a mystery. So can investing in scientific research and monitoring. The following scientific expedition involved much detective work including historical literature which informed monitoring and research.
Heard Island 2003-2004 expeditioners (source Australian Antarctic Magazine Issue 7 Spring 2004)
On Heard Island, one hundred and fifty years after it was first sighted, 28 scientists and support crew landed. I went ashore with 12 people to ‘Try Pot Beach’ otherwise known as ‘The Spit’, as part of the Terrestrial Ecologist crew. So started two and a half months on subantarctic Heard Island. Continue reading →
(or, Why a music performance is similar to an interview)
The first position in my field that I applied for was before handing in my Hons. thesis, and I had started working before giving my defence. The first position I applied for after my PhD I was accepted into without an interview. The next applied for position I didn’t get, after that I gave a 70% performance in a post-doc interview and got the position, and recently I was knocked back.
Getting knocked back can take the wind out of your sails but learning from your mistakes and moving forward with positivity is much more productive. And today I tried again. Continue reading →