What a spectacular day! The morning presentations were excellent AND the majority were particularly pertinent to my teaching. I need to request PowerPoint presentations from a number of the morning’s presenters.
Brent Hendrixson’s presentation regarding the morphological and molecular basis for determining species boundaries/designations in Aphonopelma tarantulas and Jayme Necaise’s presentation regarding efforts to establish the genetic basis of color variability in oblong winged katydids (Amblycorypha oblongifolia) made clear the challenges in trying to impose a logical human structure on not so clear biological reality. I plan to incorporate aspects of both of Brent and Jayme’s presentations into my Field Biology and Genetics courses next year.
Daniel Koch and Bob Merz’s burying beetle conservation presentations have great potential for incorporation into my Organismal Biology and Field Biology classes.
Jayme Sincage’s presentation regarding captive arthropod diet really made me think more deeply about what and how I’m feeding my invertebrates. I need to get copies of his data charts.
Information from Amy Truitt’s (or was it Catherine de Rivera’s?) presentation regarding the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia will get some air time in my Introductory Biology and Field Biology classes.
Shawna Joplin and Lila Higgin’s presentation, “Meeting Your Institutional Mission with Program Arthropods,” turned out to be a truly unexpected treat. Beginning with the foundations of determining mission and audience, we progressed to species as well as individual selection and designing education programs to actual training of arthropods for presentation purposes. Not to leave anything out, Shawna showed us how she goes about training tarantulas with a male Arizona Blonde caught the night before her presentation. A video regarding her technique is accessible at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m0l6Iz9NuI. (While you’re at it, check out the Cockroach Flight demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CwNCEryyGQ&feature=relmfu.)
We finished workshop by getting into small groups to select a program species, a theme, and develop an outline for an educational program for our particular setting. Working with Hazel and Andrine, our group developed a quick prototype of conservation lesson incorporating Chilean rose hairs and Mexican red knees. I know the prototype has the potential to be spectacular after we further flesh out the major components and add some final touches.
The evening ended with the whole group banquet and silent auction. Grouper tacos with an exceptional guacamole, outstanding vegetarian quesadillas, banana tequila cake and tres leches flan… The meal, combined with the silent auction and member entertainment was the ultimate ending to a particularly enjoyable, valuable conference.
Looking forward to next year!