Dec 7 ST&T Athens: Fungi in Research and Disease

Dec 7 – Noon
Sandy Creek Nature Center, 205 Old Commerce Rd, Athens, GA 30607

Come learn about how Fungi can be more then just “fun guy” dad jokes!

We’ll meet in the parking lot and head out from there. Please wear comfy shoes, and bring weather appropriate clothing and a water bottle.

This is an ADA, family, and pet friendly event. Please contact Liam Cavanaugh at Liam.Cavanaugh @ at least one week in advance if you have questions about accessibility or require special accommodations. No RSVP necessary. The more the merrier!

Nov 9 ST&T: Edible Insects

Nov 9. Rose Circle Park. Noon.
Please remember water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes. We are walking about a mile.
Rain Plan: Meet at Monday Night Garage (right next to park)

While American culture embraces aquatic arthropods like shrimp and lobster, an outdated taboo has prevented us from enjoying their terrestrial cousins.  Terrestrial arthropods like sour ants, crunchy grasshoppers, and even creamy tarantulas are delicious and nutritious staples in cuisine around the world.  With 2,000 flavors and textures to play with, cooking with insects can be as fun as it is beneficial to local and global health.  Many insects can be farmed vertically and sustainably, without antibiotics or hormones.  Some can even transform food waste into clean new sources of protein, iron, and calcium.  Curious about broadening your palette?  Join us for a discussion of changing food norms, ancient traditions, and new opportunities.    

Chelsea Thomas is the head of the Amphibian Conservation Program at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  She studied Environmental Psychology at Oberlin College, focusing on how exposure to nature affects children’s wellbeing.  After college, she became the primary animal caretaker at an educational farm in Canton, GA.  Unsatisfied with the environmental impact and other aspects of most pelleted animal feeds, she began growing edible insects as a safe and natural protein source for pigs and chickens (as well as her pet reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates).  She soon learned that many humans eat mealworms too and discovered they taste like pinenuts!  Years and several transitions later, Chelsea continues to find the idea of feeding herself and her animals with home-grown proteins exciting and empowering.  She has spoken about edible insects through various Atlanta forums such as the AtlSciFest, Atlanta Science Tavern, Dahlonega Science Cafe, UGA Insectival, WREK, Adult Swim, and Atlanta Magazine. 

Oct 12 ST&T: Nature’s Medicine Chest

Oct 12. Rose Circle Park. Noon.
Please remember water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes. We are walking about a mile.
Rain Plan: Meet at Monday Night Garage (right next to park)

Of the nearly 400,000 plants on Earth, around 28,000 of them are used in traditional medicine. Each plant tissue is rich in secondary metabolites: a chemical language that allows plants to communicate with other organisms in their ecosystem, defend themselves from harm, and entice pollinators and seed dispersers. Our guest speaker will discuss how this language impacts human pathogens, including antibiotic resistant bacteria, and how these may be leveraged to fuel the development of new medical therapies in the future.

Dr. Cassandra Quave is Curator of the Emory University Herbarium and Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University, where she leads antibiotic drug discovery research initiatives and teaches undergraduate courses on medicinal plants, food and health. Trained as a medical ethnobotanist, her research focuses on the documentation and biochemical analysis of botanical remedies used in the traditional treatment of infectious and inflammatory skin disease. To date, she has authored more than 60 publications, 2 edited books and 6 patents. Dr. Quave is a Past President of the President of the Society for Economic Botany, an international society with the mission of fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people. Her work has been profiled in the New York Times MagazineBBC Focus and National Geographic Channel, and featured on NPRNational Geographic Magazine and several major news outlets including the Washington PostThe TelegraphCBS News, and NBC News. Her science memoir, The Plant Hunter, is expected to release in late 2020 with Viking Press/ Penguin Random House.

Sept 14 ST&T: Trees Atlanta

Sept 14. Rose Circle Park. Noon.
Rain Plan: Meet at Monday Night Garage (right next to park)

Enjoy fresh air, new city views, fascinating Atlanta history, and every season of horticulture interest! Come walk the Atlanta BeltLine with an expertly trained Trees Atlanta Docent, Alison Mawle, and learn firsthand about Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. The walking tour will explore the Westside Trail with a strong focus on the horticultural collections and interesting facts about different segments of the Atlanta BeltLine. A walking tour of the Atlanta BeltLine is the best way to see the progress and be active at the same time!

Wear: Comfortable shoes and clothing.
Bring: drinking water, bug spray, and sunscreen are all highly recommended.

Aug 10 ST&T. Return to Panama: A Frog’s Journey

Aug 10. Rose Circle Park. Noon.
Rain Plan: Meet at Monday Night Garage (right next to park)

August’s Science Tales and Trails will focus on amphibians.

Amphibians have been both predators and prey since before the dinosaurs, so modern ecosystems rely heavily on their booming populations and constant insect management.  They are also important indicators of the health of their ecosystems: their permeable skin makes them particularly sensitive to changes in their environments, so they react sooner than other species to problems that threaten us all.  This makes the recent extinctions of over 200 amphibian species particularly concerning; in fact, scientists now predict we may lose nearly half of all amphibians in the near future. 

In the face of huge problems like global amphibian declines, it’s important to focus on small, tangible steps. One such success came last year when organizations collaborated to unite the remaining populations of two Panamanian species over a decade after they were exported and quarantined to protect them from a fungus that wiped out their wild populations. Now researchers will continue working toward the next step: reintroducing these species into their wild habitats. The speaker will discuss scientific responses to Bd “chytrid” fungus, her experiences working and traveling with the frogs, and other small steps we can all take to help amphibians both here and abroad.

Speaker: Chelsea Thomas is the head of the Amphibian Conservation Program at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  She studied Environmental Psychology at Oberlin College, focusing on how exposure to nature affects human well-being.  After college, she became the primary animal caretaker at an educational farm while working with a psychologist to provide animal assisted therapy to children on the autism spectrum in Canton, GA.  There she found her favorite work was addressing people’s phobias and preconceptions about reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, which led to her current role bridging the Education and Conservation departments at ABG.  She hopes her talks will help people see the beneficial, interconnected side of potentially “creepy” creatures.  Her proudest accomplishment to date is returning two extirpated species of frogs to their native country of Panama.  She flew with the frogs to personally oversee their transfer, installation, and continuity of records. Her other work includes providing environmental education programs and keeping reptiles and amphibians for research, display, and education.  Outside of work, she breeds many species of invertebrates and promotes edible insects as a sustainable food source.

July 16. Special Event ST&T: A Moonwalk to Celebrate the Moon Landing.

July 16. 845 pm
Beltline at Fourth Ward Skatepark and King of Pops Window. There is street parking on North Highland Ave and a garage on Elizabeth Ave. Aim your GPS toward: 830 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

50 years ago man landed on the moon. Let’s take a walk on the night of the Full Moon (and 50 years from the day the Apollo mission launched toward the moon) and learn about our closest celestial neighbor.

Join us for a special edition ST&T held in conjunction with our partners: the Atlanta Science Festival and their “Month of the Moon” festival.

Our speaker will be: Scott Harris, Staff Planetary Geologist, Fernbank Science Center

A sixth-generation Georgia native, Scott Harris became interested in geology at a young age, examining his first thin section under the petrographic microscope at age 7. Receiving his formal education in planetary geology at Arizona State University, the University of Georgia, and Brown University, he has been fortunate to have been mentored by some of the icons in the field. A Goldwater Scholar, NASA Space Grant Fellow, and Circumnavigators Foundation Fellow, Scott has worked on basaltic volcanoes and asteroid impact craters all over the globe for comparison to spacecraft data from the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter. 

Settling back in his home state, Scott has served as visiting lecturer of mineralogy at Georgia State University, visiting researcher in impact geology at Auburn University, and geologist for the Georgia Department of Transportation. In 2014, he seized the opportunity to become the staff planetary geologist at Fernbank Science Center and the Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium where he strives to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers.

July 13 ST&T: Birding: Modern Day Dino Hunting

July 13, Noon. 
Rose Circle Park

July’s ST&T will focus on “Birding: aka Dinosaur Hunting” hosted by Jason Ward .

Jason Ward is a birder, writer, and Outreach Coordinator for the National Audubon Society. Born and raised in The Bronx, NYC, his love for wildlife began at a young age when he fell in love with dinosaurs. This infatuation provided him with an escape from childhood obstacles. Now, he gets to share his love for modern-day dinosaurs with the public, in his web series; “Birds of North America”.

Jason’s mission is to change the way the public views wildlife, and to blaze a trail for future generations of children growing up in underserved communities.

June 8 ST&T: How the Brain Works

June 8, Noon.
Rose Circle Park

June’s ST&T will focus on “How the Brain Works” hosted by Leah Krevitt.

From federal research grants to panicked WebMD searches, we ask a lot of different questions about our brains. How do real-world observations translate into basic neurobiology research agendas–and how do those experimental insights come back to impact our lives? The answers to these questions are as diverse and convoluted as…well, as the neural circuits we’ll use to discuss them.

Leah Krevitt is a wayward neurobiologist who has bet the lives of numerous worms, rats, and mice on the idea that well-designed behavioral experiments can change the world. No matter the model, she has always found herself drawn to the question of how patient self-report informs experimental design–and, more generally, to the question of how advances in scientific communication have changed scientist-nonscientist collaboration. In her free time, she enjoys creating protein expressionist portraits and collecting jokes for her pet project, Humorous Anecdotal Reports of Hard-to-Articulate Research Domain Criteria (HAR-HARDoC).