Monday, November 16, 2015

Leal Lab Outreach Adventures!

This weekend, members of the Leal lab ventured to Rock Bridge High School right here in Columbia to participate in the “Soaring Into Science” event put on by Mizzou’s own ReSTEM institute and the Columbia Public School system. This event incorporated many different hands-on science exhibits and activities intended to foster scientific exploration for kids and their families. 
Levi and Kevin have developed an awesome educational experience for events like the one this weekend, incorporating just a handful of their amphibian and reptile menagerie into an interactive display where onlookers can see, touch, and learn about these ‘Amazing Animals’. By exposing children and adults alike to these cool critters, we were able to communicate about the biology and natural history of these organisms, and highlight various adaptations that illustrate both the diversity and interrelatedness of these organisms.
It was particularly rewarding to talk with locals about snakes, and to express the value of snakes in our local ecosystem and others around the world. Equipped with his fantastic boa, Levi convinced quite a few wary onlookers to touch the snake and learn that most snakes would rather flee from humans than harm them. Plus Kevin's frilled dragon climbed on him and doubled as a tie, so the whole event was an overwhelming success.