bird observatory


I am growing fonder each day of my new job. My coworker told me today she forgets that I am brand new to the business every time she works with me because “I’m a wiz-natural at it.” I really enjoy the cerebral aspects of the position as well. I was trained today on some of the science and engineering involved in their bird feeders – it’s tremendously complex and intriguing! Silver ions that inhibit microbial growth, agglutinated with the plastic in the feeders…brilliant! 

After one of my coworkers (who is aware of my current health battles) found out that I volunteer as a telescope operator and star tour guide, she said that I am a vibrant inspiration to everyone there. It takes so much to go do the things I do on a daily basis. It takes monumental amounts of energy, pain medicine, time, gas money, sacrifice, and will power to drive up that giant mountain to the observatory…to another world made to explore the cosmos. To take that telescope and point it at the sky to any object I want, is like no other experience. The cosmos and its filigree of intricacies are infinite, and I intend to find out more each day, one astrophysicist friend at a time. 

There is no other feeling (except seeing a Humpback Whale ten feet from your boat for the first time in your life) than watching/coaching a small child and their parent while the parent lifts the child to the ocular of the telescope – and when that little person exclaims and gasps in awe at the cosmos…it’s one more step towards the good of our world. I would like to thank my dear friend Aaron Coyner for tonight’s stimulating conversation on a myriad of complexities including but not limited to: theoretically calculating the Schwarzschild radius of a human, redshifts, blue shifts, quantum theory (specifically the possibility of quantum black holes in relation to Neuropsychology/physiology), UFO’s, xenomorphic evolution, and traumatic brain injuries and the adaptations that follow. 

I think it’s time to go to sleep now and dream about the multiverse theory.

anonymous asked:

I have incredibly severe mental illness. I am twenty three and only barely becoming functional. My disease took away my chance at going to college, and now college is just an impossibility for financial reasons. The problem is that I love ethology, birds, and just generally the study of all things biological (besides lame humans) what are the options for a person like me? Or did I miss my shot?

Short answer: you didn’t miss your shot, and there are plenty of options out there! Now, for the long answer…

Well, some good news first: there is no predetermined age for studying biology or for going to college. Mental illness has a nasty habit of messing up your life’s timing; it sneakily slows time down, or speeds it up, or shaves off entire years, sometimes without you even noticing. But biology isn’t a time-sensitive field. You are absolutely allowed to take the time you need to “recover”, and take things at your own pace. As for finances: some excellent options include starting out at a community college and pursuing scholarships (particularly those for disabled or nontraditional students?).

I will be up front here– if you’re trying to make this line of work your career, be ready for a competitive and often-stressful environment where you will not be making much money (or any money at all) in the short-term. You’ll have to get comfortable contacting strangers out of the blue (email and phone), carving opportunities for yourself out wherever they present themselves. It’s a lot of work. It’s also very rewarding.

If you don’t think going in for the whole career is an option or something you want, but you’d like to be intellectually engaged and involved, you’ve got options! There are many ways to engage with ongoing biological work without having to stress about making a living doing it! Check out your nearest Audubon society, universities, bird observatory, zoo, or science museum– many of these places have volunteer and citizen science opportunities for interested parties! 

No matter what you decide, it’s important to take care of your personal needs first. Mental illness is a bitch, but it doesn’t mean you’re locked out from the ivory tower. Now, since I’m not an expert on all of this (I am but a young graduate student after all), I’ll go ahead and toss this to @mental-health-in-academia. Good luck, and take care of yourself!

Some more animals sketches for my weird animal alphabet. Marmoset through springhare.

Over the past week, I moved from Marina, California to Fort Collins, Colorado for internships with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and ECOS Communications. It has been a hectic transition, but I am finally settling in and looking forward to starting work! Should have some new stuff up soon.