Combining Science Communication and Invertebrate Research

In my last post, I briefly introduced myself and the internship I will do this summer. In this post, I want to focus on my main projects and go a little more in-depth about what I will be doing! 

This summer, as part of this internship at Dinosaur National Monument (DNM), I’ll have an exciting opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary project that combines science communication and invertebrate research. My main focus will be on engaging with visitors and sharing scientific knowledge in a fun and educational way.

In reading very long and daunting research papers throughout college, I learned very quickly that science is not for the faint of heart; I also learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. I came to the conclusion that I would like to make it easily accessible, especially to underrepresented communities. That’s why I’m so excited to research, develop, and present interpretive programs that incorporate citizen science and allow visitors to actively participate in the learning experience on various topics such as geology, paleontology, dark skies, and pollinators!  

As stated in my last post, I will also be monitoring and researching pollinators, specifically monarch butterflies and bumblebees. This will include conducting field surveys to collect baseline data on the occurrence and habitat preferences of these pollinators, as well as parasitism and survival rates.

More is known about the path monarchs take on the eastern side of the United States so this internship holds particular significance as it aims to expand our understanding of western monarch butterflies. DNM, located in the easternmost part of the western monarch population’s range, serves as an excellent location for studying these butterflies.

Overall, I’m looking forward to having an amazing summer experience, combining science communication, invertebrate research, and the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of western monarch butterflies and bumblebees.

Monarch Butterfly (Danais Archippus). By Sherman F. Denton (1856-1937).
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