In my final week I had the chance to assist in Forest Schooling, a session run by the Community Interest Company Nature Links, which operates in Hounslow and Surrey. This is just one of the fantastic sessions offered by Bedfont Lakes for children and families. Forest Schooling is typically run for children up to the age of eight and is all about encouraging creative play in an outdoor environment in order to build confidence and self-esteem.
Following a brief Health and Safety message at the park entrance, the session commenced by searching for ‘Base Camp’. Base Camp turned out to be a sheltered 30/40m2 section of one of the woody areas in the park, with a small clearing in the centre that contained a seating area made from logs.
During my time at Sense About Science one of my main responsibilities has been running the Energy Panel and the Plant Science Panels and for me this has been some of the most interesting work. The panels are made up of experts in the respective fields, who have made themselves available to answer public questions. As part of my responsibilities I field questions from the public, choose the appropriate scientist to answer (in the case of the Plant Science Panel there are over 50 different specialists), then if necessary edit the answer to make it more readable, before publicising it.
So what is the point in getting scientists to answer public questions?
The second week at Sense About Science has been packed with old and new things. I feel I am learning a lot and getting more involved in the office actvitities, which is a great feeling.
The day starts always with the news: the entire office team gathers and skims the newspapers looking for articles reporting science-related stories. The purpose is to check if these accounts are reliable, if the science is reported in an accurate way, if the claims made are actually evidence-supported or not.
News reading and evidence checking
If they sound unclear or dubious the team discusses about the opportunity of asking the newspaper or the person who made a statement for some science-based evidence.
The past month seems to have flown by. When Friday rolled around, I couldn’t believe that I’d already spent 4 weeks working at the Royal Society. I guess that’s a good sign though. It’s been such a great experience and certainly something I’d recommend to all PhD students. It can be so useful to have something lift you out of the PhD bubble for a little while…
Thinking about the internship overall, I feel like I’ve managed to get a lot out of the placement given it was relatively short. I really benefited from having the mixture of helping out on the typical day-to-day editorial tasks and working on some of my own mini projects (for the RS anniversary issue and Neuroscience marketing strategy).
The LUCIA Library at Saria
This is a photo of the library that LUCIA built at Saria – I fundraised for it last year (my school raised £5000 in a term) and I’m reviewing the project now as part of a grant proposal for a girls’ toilet block and handwash station on the same site.
Unfortunately there’s been a bit of an issue with the stoves project, so I’ve shifted my research focus into Bees! Ethiopia produces about 40000 tonnes of honey a year, and we’re looking into developing a bee project of sorts to help communities make money. I’ve got no experience with bees – so I’ve been doing a huge amount of product analysis, reading papers and reports and budgets for the different kinds of beehives (who knew you there were so many different types of beehive!?), and I’m currently chatting with my supervisor about us running the project itself, instead of going through an NGO – which would be a first for the charity and really exciting!