Our perspective on public outreach is based on the idea that science should be accessible to everyone. We want the public to know what we do and understand why it is interesting and important. We also want to demystify for the public, and kids in particular, what science is and what it means to be a scientist. We do this in an effort to teach kids that they, too can become scientists. It’s not all about walking around in white lab coats with messy hair, broken glasses, and exploding test tubes. Science is the basis for much of what we know and understand in the natural world and it is applicable to our daily lives, from the velcro on your shoes to the medicine in your cabinets. We love reaching out to the public. We regularly give talks to local groups and classrooms and invite school children to our lab to see first hand what we do with spiders and feel inspired by the questions we ask. If you would like someone from the Binford lab to come to your school to talk about what it’s like to be a spider biologist, e-mail us! Also, don’t forget to attend our annual lab open house, SpiderFest at the end of October!
Public Outreach Events
SpiderFest is an event we put on annually around Halloween for the community at large (kids and adults) to come to our lab, see what we do, and get inspidered (btw, we are big nerds here and don’t pass up and any opportunity for a joke). Past SpiderFests have included informal talks on research and spider collecting expeditions, demonstrations of venom milking, interesting spider behaviors, and examples of some of the amazing spider and arachnid diversity from around the world. Of course, such an event could not occur without lots of spidery treats and punch with a frozen hand floating in it.
Here are some web quality pdf’s of the 2008 announcement fliers. If you desire higher-quality pdf’s to print out and spread around, e-mail us and we’d be happy to send them your way.
SpiderFest 2008 was a huge success! The lab was overflowing with Lewis & Clark students, faculty, staff, neighbors and their families. Thanks to all who attended and had fun learning about the workings of our lab.
SpiderFest 2008 Photo Gallery
Over 100 people from the Lewis & Clark community and the community at large attended SpiderFest 2008. Present and past Binford lab students participated by giving demonstrations of various aspects of Binford lab research and helping visitors learn about the workings of our lab. Here are a few photos illustrating what SpiderFest is all about.
In the Media
Oregon field guide: Spider Woman video segment
Oregon field guide: 6-eyed sand spider video footage
NPR interview with Greta Binford
Spider Woman (New Yorker profile)
Spiders: An Evolutionary Detective’s Best Friends