Earlier this month, I was happy to again participate in the Ohio State Museum of Biological Diversity Open House, our department's biggest outreach event. We had more than 2,200 visitors from all parts of Ohio and elsewhere. This year, Matt Holding and I teamed with two fantastic undergraduates who work in our lab (Meghan Parsley and Paul Hudson) to go even bigger than we did last year. Since this year's theme was all about how scientists use technology to discover and classify biodiversity, we put together a booth that showed visitors how our lab uses technology across all aspects of our science, from catching animals to analyzing their DNA.
We had an absolute blast at this event. Apparently, so did a whole bunch of other people!
Here are some photos I took frantically between showing salamanders to (big and little) kids:
And here are some photos of our booth, some of our materials, and some of the great visitors we met!
At the end of the tables, we had a few animals on display that showcased some ways that DNA can reveal biological differences between organisms. Included among these animals was the eastern glass lizard that we brought back from Florida last year, and I was astounded at the number of kids that could immediately identify it! The little "flip quizzes" at the end of the booth sparked a lot of discussions with both adults and children.
This is a great event and I highly recommend it if you are a local. All the faculty, staff, and students are so excited to meet the citizens of Ohio and share their passion. For more pictures and information, I'd recommend the Museum of Biological Diversity Facebook page here.