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Southern NV Earth Day - Big Dune

Monday, April 04, 2022 3:32 PM | OPEN Executive Director (Administrator)

See Message below from Mandy Mountain

I am planning an outreach event on Earth Day and I am looking for CCSD teachers (as well as college students that are planning to be teachers, or that are interested in biology careers) that would be interested in attending an event to learn about dune beetle ecology at Big Dune. Teachers and college students would get to participate in research activities being conducted by UNLV, learn about the ecology of the Giuliani's dune scarab beetle, and experience what it might be like to be a field biologist for a day. The hope is that teachers will share information about the experience with their students and incorporate it into a lesson about science, research, or science careers, and inspire students to have an interest in science. I am also willing to come talk to their classroom if it fits into their lesson. Long term, I hope that by having first-hand experience to draw from, teachers will be better equipped to make science lessons more interesting and relatable to students.

This event will be on April 22nd, with a possible second day on April 23rd. Transportation will be provided. We will be traveling to Big Dune Nevada and conducting research activities including collection of observational data of beetle behaviors, and collecting environmental and behavioral data during a short experiment manipulating the light conditions that beetles are exposed to.

I am aware that this experience will not appeal to everyone due to the late hours and the fact the "bugs" are not everyone's cup of tea. This timing is necessary because the beetles are only active and observable during a short window each night around sunset, and we need travel time to get to and from the dune. If you are very afraid of insects you may not want to come on this trip, but rest assured that these beetles do not eat food as adults, and biting is not something that we have ever experienced from them. It is quite an experience to see the beetles all emerge from the sand in unison and watch them as they hover around all of the surrounding shrubs against the backdrop of the sunset. It all feels very magical. I am looking for adventurous teachers that like the outdoors, have an interest in biology, and want to use their experience to inspire their students.

If you are interested in participating, complete the form at this link:
Thank you!

 Mandy Mountain
Graduate Student, Lab of Dr. Daniel Thompson
Teaching Assistant for Biology 415 Discussion
School of Life Sciences

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Nevada State Science Teachers Association
P.O. Box 90761

Henderson, NV 89009

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