making science communication a conversation

Conservationist Dorian Anderson speaks on his "Big Green Big Year"

Presentation/Discussion on Engaging the Public with Science

Dorian Anderson has a Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics from NYU, where he studied early embryo polarization and its role in further development; at postdocs at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital he did further work in molecular mechanisms that control neural plasticity. At the end of 2013 Dorian set the lab aside to reengage full time with birding – a life-long avocation.

Committed to conservation, he embarked on a Big Green Big Year, an effort to see as many bird species as possible in a year, using no fossil fuels. Here’s how he tells it:

“On January 1st, 2014, I embarked on a year-long biking and birdwatching odyssey that took me 18,000 miles through 28 states. Along this route, I saw the country in a way few people ever will, I observed hundreds of the continent’s birds, and I raised general awareness about birdwatching and environmental stewardship. I plan to speak about my decision to leave a well-established career, my incredible experience on America’s roads, and how this seemingly isolated adventure will apparently propel my life in completely new and unexpected directions moving forward.”

He shared his year-long adventure in real time through his “biking for birds” blog, updated daily throughout his trip. Many thousands of birders nationwide followed his trip, including his first ever observation of a Red-legged Honeycreeper in North America, described on his blog as “MEGA-SUPER-HELLA Big News”.

Dorian will be visiting Michigan on Monday, April 13 for a series of events and meetings with students. That afternoon, from 4:00-5:30, we will host an informal discussion in which Dorian will introduce his adventure for 15 minutes, and then discuss with us his experiences with blogging science, talking conservation, and writing a book about his journey.

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(Contributed by Tim McKay)