young naturalist

I saw a little girl today who was absolutely riveted by the life in the rotting seaweed around the harbour. I love seeing these little moments, because it takes me back to some of my first experiences as a ‘young naturalist’ of sorts.

I was nearby, photographing and identifying pollinators: I was just about to go over and ask her what she had found…

Both of us had our moments shattered, however, as her mother started screaming at her about getting her clothes dirty. Unfortunately, I also have memories of moments like these, where the female obligation to be decorative trumped my right to be fascinated and curious about the world around me.

She immediately started crying when he parents took her by the arm and led her away.

For those of you who are parents or caregivers, think of what is means to prioritise a child’s appearance over her learning and interests. It’s not fair to socialise girls this way: it breeds self-consciousness, insecurity, and I’m absolutely sure has a direct link to why girls and women are under-represented in the sciences. 

potter-lovegood  asked:


“Wait a minute. Are you jealous?”

Harry jerked back to stare at Ron, almost dropping his drink in surprise. He felt his mouth drop open involuntarily and his eyes widen a fraction. For a moment he was frozen, his spin unnaturally stiff; then he gave a short, awkward shake of his head and if to deny the accusation.  

Jealous? No. Harry knew - he knew - that jealousy was a pointless emotion. It was painful and irrational and would never lead to anything good. Jealousy was an ugly, insecure emotion, and it definitely wasn’t what Harry was feeling.

A high, musical laugh dragged his eyes back across the room to where Luna was talking animatedly with some young wizarding naturalist, a tall, broad-shouldered young man who was annoyingly handsome as he grinned flirtatiously down at her.

The sight made Harry’s stomach clench with something that wasn’t quite anger and wasn’t quite fear but something inbetween, something that uncurled in a cold spiral and made him clench his free hand into a fist so tight that his nails bit painfully into his palm. He welcome the ache, though; it was a distraction from the sudden urge to hit something or snarl at someone that sat beneath his skin like an itch he couldn’t scratch.

“You are.” He heard the grin in Ron’s voice, and turned to spear him with a glare. That, unfortunately, just seemed to amuse Ron more.

“No. I’m not,” Harry managed to growl out.

Because being jealous would be the height of stupidity. Because Luna was his girlfriend and had been for nearly a year and he trusted her so there was no reason for him to feel jealous.

He just didn’t want another man looking at her like that.

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This afternoon at the Museum, the twelve winners of the 2015 Young Naturalist Awards were honored at the Museum for their outstanding scientific investigations. The winners, ages 12-18, hail from 10 U.S. states, and were selected from over 800 submissions for this year’s prize. 

Winners include Beatrice Brown, an 18-year-old student from Bellmore, New York, who with her family lost her home during Hurricane Sandy, and who then developed a novel model for predicting hurricanes on Long Island. Soon Il Higashino, a junior from Ossining, New York, identified beneficial bacteria on Eastern redback salamanders that inhibited a toxic fungus associated with amphibian decline. Katherine Handler, a 15-year-old from Woodbridge, Connecticut, studied photos from automated game cameras in Kenya to analyze scavenger activity on wildebeest carcasses. 

Students were presented with their awards by herpetologist Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator in the Museum’s Division of Vertebrate Zoology and Associate Dean of Science for Education and Exhibition, who brought along his pet tortoise, Persephone, to the awards. Raxworthy purchased Persephone in a London pet shop in 1979, and cited the tortoise as a physical reminder of his own early love of science. 

Learn more about the Young Naturalist Awards