On Sunday I presented my new citizen science project Earthworm Watch at two Nature Live events at the Natural History Museum. Nature Live events are hosted in the Attenborough Studio and are a chance for members of the public to meet scientists and discover the research that goes on behind the scenes at the Museum.
When I started my PhD I gave myself the target of presenting a talk at Nature Live, but I didn’t envisage doing it so soon! However the April timing was just right to introduce Earthworm Watch to the public and (hopefully!) recruit participants.
The Nature Live format uses a host and interviewee format. In advance, my host Alison discussed the event with me, produced a presentation, with photos, videos etc. and a loose script of questions to ask. This really helped me feel less anxious about the experience as I could practice how I would respond in advance.
I brought along some live earthworms to display on the visualiser, which magnifies them on the three screens that surround the studio. I also had examples of the survey packs, a sign-up sheet for people to leave their contact details for the project, and some flyers to take away.
There were two talks: one at 12:30 and another at 14:30. The first did not have a very large audience (maybe because it was lunchtime!) but they were keen and asked lots of questions and some gave their details for more information on the project. The audience at 14:30 was larger and included lots of families with young children which were particularly keen to come down at the end to hold the earthworms and sign up for the project.
It was a good experience and I feel proud to have got to the stage where I am able to present. Still, it was nerve-wracking and I was grateful that my boyfriend Andrew was able to visit and attend with me, plus he bought me an icecream after to celebrate!
There will probably be more Earthworm Watch themed Nature Live events as the project continues, updating with the results so far and recruiting more people to the project – watch this space!