Every year the Natural History Museum Student Association organises a conference held for Museum-based students to present their research. This year I am on the Student Association Committee so was involved in helping with the conference, and also presented a poster and a talk.
Organising a conference is hard work! There are sponsors to find, speakers to invite, programmes to produce, catering to arrange, and things you might not even consider such as booking porters for the tables and ensuring Museum security procedures are kept to. Organisation began before Christmas but the last few weeks leading up to the event were the busiest, and thankfully it all went well.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked by fellow Soil Biodiversity Group member (and termite fan) Fez to help with earthworm dissections at the Wohl Reach Out Lab where she works.
After two poster presentations last week, this week’s #throwbackthursday is a timely look back at the first event I presented at, back in November 2013.
I’ve attended two conferences this week, with different audiences and it’s been tiring! On Tuesday I was the Wildlife Gardening Forum Conference held at the Natural History Museum where I presented a poster on my forthcoming Citizen Science project Earthworm Watch. This conference was a celebration of 10 years of the Wildlife Gardening Forum, a charity for people and organisations interested in wildlife gardening. The next day I was off to Reading University presenting the same poster at the Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life event held by the Soil Research Centre. This event consisted of talks, networking and workshops on the theme of healthy soils – including how we define healthy soils and what indicators we can use.
The day after the PREDICTS Symposium it was the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) DTP Conference 2015, in the same venue at the Natural History Museum! I got up early to help set up at the Museum and welcome delegates. This Conference was for members of the DTP and showcased our work with talks, a three minute thesis competition and poster session. The three minute thesis competition was a challenge to explain our theses to the audience in just three minutes using one static slide with a prize for the audience and judges’ favourite.
Check the Grantham Institute’s Storify for more Tweets from the event: SSCP DTP Conference
One of the research groups I am connected too – Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS) has just come to the end of its first three years. To mark the occasion a one day symposium was held at the Natural History Museum with talks on overviews of what the project has achieved, the latest results, and a look ahead. I was invited to do a 15 minute talk on my PhD work researching human effects on soil biodiversity which use the PREDICTS framework. The Symposium was webcast live on YouTube and attended by many PREDICTS researchers past and present so I was rather anxious!
I enjoy music, but until now had never been to a music festival, all those crowds of people, loud noise and camping was not something I thought I could cope with. However I was aware from talking to my colleagues at the University of Reading last year that festivals are not just about music, and often have stands and science activities run by universities and other institutions. This felt like something I would enjoy so I put it on my mental list of ‘things to do while studying for a PhD’. I was very excited to see a call from the Royal Society of Biology and British Ecological Society for volunteers to help run ecology themed activities and bioblitz (an event where you try to identify as many species as possible) at Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging over the last few weeks as I have been busy writing and submitting my early stage assessment – a report of what I have done so far in my PhD and what I plan to do next. This will be followed up with a short viva from my panel – eek! So it was good to get a day out doing outreach at Imperial College Silwood Park a few days after submitting. Silwood Park is Imperial’s postgraduate campus near Ascot, Berkshire, with research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation. One of my supervisors is based there, so I occasionally visit for meetings and eventually will be going there to extract and analyse microbial DNA from my soil samples.
This week the Wildlife Gardening Forum held its conference ‘Soil Biodiversity in the Garden’ at the Natural History Museum in London. Being a keen gardener and researching soil biodiversity I had to go along.
The Wildlife Gardening Forum is a group of organisations and people who are passionate about wildlife in gardens and seek to help people value and enjoy wildlife in their gardens. While there has been quite a lot of interest in gardens as habitats for birds, mammals and pollinating insects, few consider the life below ground so this conference was a great way to raise the profile of soil organisms and discuss ideas.
Yesterday I attended my first ever hackathon, held at the Natural History Museum in London.