Adriane Lam, a doctoral candidate in geosciences in professor Mark Leckie’s lab, recently launched a public outreach website, “Time Scavengers,” with her friend and fellow scientist, Ph.D. candidate Jen Bauer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Their goal is to explain climate change and evolution to the public through their experiences and posts written by scientists in the field, with summaries of recent science articles and blogs about “where our science takes us and why it’s important,” Lam says. In addition to the blogs, the site currently has 30 static pages that explain concepts important to climate change and evolution, plus background material that explains important geologic concepts.
Other scientists taking part in the project are Lam’s lab mate Raquel Bryant and Andy Fraass, a geosciences alumnus who is a visiting assistant professor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Lam says, “We have seven collaborators across the country helping with our website and we plan to grow the site over the coming years. The really unique aspect of our site is that it has five blog components.” They are:
- Science Bytes, where Lam, Bauer, and collaborators blog about what they do on a weekly basis for their research and why it’s important. For example, Lam says “I’ll blog while I'm sailing in the Tasman Sea this July through September on a scientific drilling expedition through the International Ocean Discovery Program.”
- Meet the Scientist, where Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, professors and avocational scientists write about what they do and why it’s important to climate change and/or evolution. They also plan to feature scientists from other science fields.
- Field Excursionswill highlight the work scientists do in the field, whether on field trips as part of undergraduate courses, museum visits for research, specialized laboratory experiments or fossil collecting for fun.
- Education and Outreach, a blog about the scientists’ experiences and commitments to public outreach through school and museum visits as well as local community groups.
- Climate and Paleo News, where blog posts about important papers in the field of paleoclimatology, paleoceanography and evolutionary studies are written in an easily understood format.
Introducing the site, Lam and Bauer explain that “climate change is one of the biggest problems facing humanity and life on Earth today, and one of the most fundamentally misunderstood scientific theories is evolution.” They go on to state that they’ve “made the site to help the public understand more about both of these concepts and answer some questions, such as “How do we know the Earth is warming and where does the data come from? What are the implications of a rapidly changing climate? What is evolution? How do we know evolution took place, and where does the data come from? Why is it important to understand climate change and evolution?”
Visit the Time Scavengers website here