Emilie Snell-Rood has organized a museum day after the Animal Behavior meetings in Boulder next week. I signed up to participate months ago, knowing it was the right thing to do, and might be fun. As the time neared, of course, I had neither the time nor the inspiration to make participating easy.
But then it came to me. I would present the concept of an organism to the visitors in what I hoped would be an accessible way. I wrote a little book for it which you can download here. It is on our main lab page, and will move to the teaching tab after awhile. It is Creative Commons licensed, so help yourself to it! I combed my own photo archives for the illustrations, only resorting to Wikimedia a few times. I also figured the visitors could make little organisms out of clay, pipe cleaners and feathers, and place them on the board of life, which Debbie Brock lettered. Her handwriting is amazing.
If I’m not too overwhelmed by the meetings I’ll report back. After all, one of my very first jobs was showing little children around the University of Michigan Natural History Museum. It was also the place I got my very first desk, in the dragonfly area of the Insect Division, if I recall correctly, courtesy of Richard D. Alexander, my first mentor, back in undergrad days.
So when someone comes asking, think hard and say yes. You’ll be glad you did. Outreach is fun, especially when someone else organizes it!