Having spent very little time in any mid-western U.S. state, I am indeed a Pacific vagrant in the Mississippi Flyway.
It has been a whirlwind journey. Having earned my PhD in July...
... my spouse and I packed up our lives and our menagerie of domestic animals and headed east to St. Louis, Missouri. Maris is now a Research Fellow with the Institute for Conservation Medicine and we are settling in to life at the confluence.
We made it just in time to greet fall migration and my head nearly exploded with the wonders of migratory warblers descending en masse on some of the greatest city parks I have ever been lucky enough to enjoy.
My compatriot in all things farm and fowl, Sara Kross, and I co-presented at EcoFarm 2018 this past week.
In attendance at our workshop were about 80 folks, mostly growers and a few NRCS staff, who all had great questions and comments based on their own experiences in the farming trenches.
Also helping out with the talk, was baby Quinn:
I think the audience and I were a bit in awe of Sara as she presented her material with her 3 week old strapped to her body. It reminded me of how far we've come as women scientists. No longer do we have to choose between work and family, unless we want to. I appreciated EcoFarm accommodating Sara and Quinn in the many ways they did, and the audience for being so welcoming, kind, and face it - understanding of reality.
Though there have been improvements, there are many professional society meetings which still make it quite difficult for parents to bring their kids to conferences (yup, all parents are responsible for their kids!), despite this accommodation seeming like a pretty low hanging fruit when it comes to equity in the sciences.
Which reminds me of this thread by Rebecca Calisi Rodriquez that has been making the rounds:
Publishing solutions for this very issue seems like a pretty timely and important thing for a journal to take on. It's just not that radical, folks.
We ended our conference at the the glorious Asilomar grounds with a little birding and beach walking.
A much needed break from the dissertation grind.
I'll be talking about, you guessed it, birds and agriculture, tomorrow for Sacramento State's Fall 2017 colloquium series. The series is put on for undergraduate students by the Geology, Biological Sciences, and Environmental Studies Departments, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey as part of Sac State's One World Initiative. I love talking to students about science and birds and agriculture. Should be fun!
KDVS Local Dirt Radio - Birds, hedgerows, conservation and agricultural production in the Central Valley
My interview with Local Dirt Radio about my research was on air this evening. I hope you enjoy the discussion!
My section runs from 2:41-25:14:
Tune in to Local Dirt Radio (KDVS 90.3fm, Davis, California) at 5pm on Monday, October 23, to hear about hedgerows, birds, and wildlife conservation and ecology in agriculture. Yours truly will be interviewed.
I had a great time presenting with Sara Kross at the inaugural event of Sac Science Distilled, brought to us by Capitol Science Communicators, Science Says and the Powerhouse Science Center. We packed a bunch of folks interested in science into Old Ironsides and they imbibed and snacked while we gave our talks. It was a fun, interesting, and interested crowd.
Here are some slides from my talk, which summarized my research on bird occupancy in walnut orchards and in hedgerows and riparian patches on orchard margins, bird reduction of the Codling Moth (a major pest for walnut growers), and whether habitat patch presence or characteristics of the patch indirectly affect this pest control service by birds.
And some nice tweets and pictures from Science Says:
Looking forward to presenting with Sara Kross at the inaugural Sacramento Science Distilled. Come on out to the Old Ironsides in Sacramento, Wednesday September 21, 6pm, and learn about falcons and wine, woodpeckers and walnuts, oh my!
I presented some of my research at the EntSA meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week. It was my first time at an entomological meeting, because I usually study the birds that eat invertebrates (insectivores) and spend more of my time following the work of community ecologists or ornithologists. Crossing over somewhat and interacting with folks from different societies or with different research interests than my own is one of my favorite things to do, though, so I was very excited to take part in the Section Symposium: Integrating Ecological and Social Science to Support Synergies and Applied Solutions in Agroecosystems, organized by Kelly Garbach and Katharina Ullman.
One of my aims in deciding to go to grad school was to stretch outside of my bird-centered way of thinking about ecology and conservation. Conducting research in agricultural systems has been a great way to interact with many different types of researchers, growers, and policy makers. Being invited to participate in this seminar is a signal to me that I am on my way to meeting this aim.
One of the best parts of attending a conference is the time spent socializing over meals and drinks with amazing and interesting people. All of these folks are doing really interesting work in agriculture and biodiversity conservation both from the ecological research and the social science research perspectives.
The title slide of my talk.
And a nice tweet from @KellyGarbach of me after my talk answering a question from David Kleijn, whose work has greatly influenced mine. Another important reason for attending conferences!
I was invited by the California Walnut Board’s Production Research Advisory Council Entomology Working Group to present my research on walnut pest reduction by birds. This is exactly the kind of work I want to be doing: conducting research that informs conservation and environmental policy and interacting with the stakeholders that influence and are affected by policy changes. Walnuts are a huge agricultural commodity in the Central Valley of California; this area produces over 99% of U.S. walnuts. Birds utilize walnut orchards during all seasons and walnut orchards cover a lot of land. I want to know if birds reduce the pests that cause walnut growers so much grief, if there are practices we can use in orchards (e.g., habitat retention or restoration) to facilitate bird occupancy and pest reduction services, and whether bird consumption rates of walnut pests is high enough to reduce the number of pesticide applications needed in orchards. Thus, the walnut board is a really important stakeholder with which to share my research. I think the talk went well. I don't think anyone is jumping on the habitat creation bandwagon because of my talk, but I'm pretty sure that some of the folks in the room had never considered birds as a possible beneficial predator of walnut pests. I also learned a lot about what the biggest concerns are of the Board, and about some interesting research from entomologists who presented. My colleague Kate Ingram also presented her work on walnut pest reduction by bats.