Sunday, April 29, 2012

April is Poetry: #28 and #29 (Citizen Science)

Oh, April is speeding by!  This weekend was gone in a flash, but that's because any time I have with the fabulous Loree Griffin Burns is always too short. Loree was in town for the USA Science and Engineering Fair, and I caught her presentation on Citizen Science.  After writing about scientists who track trash and scientists who investigate honeybees, Loree decided to write about something powerful and simple: how any human being with alert senses and a willing heart can participate in the grand adventure of scientific discovery.

Citizen Scientists
by Loree Griffin Burns
photographs by Ellen Harasimonwicz

From listening to frog calls to hunting for lost ladybugs, each citizen scientist is asked only to be an expert in their own local community, and to observe and share the data he or she collects.  It's a bit like Twitter science.  (I hope Loree won't object to that description!)  Just like Twitter has enabled millions of people to be on-the-spot reporters, observing and relaying what they see and hear, citizen science empowers kids, families, scout troops, classrooms, 4-H clubs, nearly anyone--- to take what they see and hear in the small square of their backyards and add that knowledge to the vast earth-wide pursuit of scientific knowledge.

Cool, huh?  You can read more about citizen science and Loree's fascinating path to writing the book here.

Loree and I also talked about haiku----since she knew I was writing some for Poetry Month--and because she believes science and haiku have a lot in common. By focusing on the very small and the very particular, we gain access to the profound.  She even recommended a poetry book to me that I can't wait to find: Seeds From a Birch Tree. For now, though, I'm paying attention only to what I heard and saw and learned from Loree today.

Shh! I'm listening
Spring peepers caught on iphone
shared sound grows louder

Red binoculars
Held breath, sharp eyes, open ears
One sky; many wings


  1. One sky, many wings. LOVEly. And so true.

  2. Oh, Sara. Those haiku. You are incredible.

    And it was so, so good to see you!



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