Evolution Family Day at University of Colorado-Boulder Museum. I enjoy reaching out to young students and non-scientists about studying evolution and biology in general. One way I have done this is to participate in museum outreach activities at the UC-Boulder Museum. Recently, we I participated in an event exploring how humans are shaping the evolution of other species, including antibiotic resistance and domestication. I helped run a booth designed to illustrate natural selection for children and their families using colored candies, cloth "habitats," and vision bias glasses.
Boulder Valley Schools Science Fair. Another way I have tried to encourage young scientists is by judging at the Corden Pharma Regional Science Fair at the University of Colorado-Boulder where budding scientists from area middle and high schools present their biological and physical science research. It's always a blast discussing their findings!
*photo by J. Papasso at the Boulder Daily Camera
Arizona Native Plant Society. It's important to communicate research to local science groups. This includes native plant societies, which comprise community members well-situated to disseminate the latest research to the rest of the community. Recently, I presented to the Tucson Chapter of the AZNPS about differences in pollinator visitation and pollen load composition on creosote bush in areas where the different cytotypes occur sympatrically. This was shocking to some in attendance, who had some great ideas for future research paths, and they also started looking at that ubiquitous desert shrub in a new light.
Colorado Native Plant Society. In 2015, I presented at the CoNPS Annual Meeting in Golden, CO about my research on pollinator visitation biases to the different ploidies of creosote bush. I also raised the possibility that such interactions may be very common, as two of the best-studied systems finding ploidy-specific visitation were in the Rocky Mountain region: Heuchera grossulariifolia and Chamerion angustifolium.
University of Rochester Woodlands. Concurrent with the development of an Ecology and Evolution Lab, I helped develop university-owned woodlands as natural teaching environments. These relatively old woodlands harbor ~250 vascular plant taxa, including rare American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) in multiple habitat types (beech-maple mesic forest, floodplain forest, maple-ash swamp, old fields, vernal pools, reedgrass marsh). I contributed to the collection and identification of tree species to maintain a teaching herbarium collection, the deployment of cover-boards for several student-driven studies of vertebrate and invertebrate populations, and the supervision of students performing surveys of naturalized and invasive species (Oriental Bittersweet, Common Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard) and tree age structure. This work helped local residents realize the ecologically and culturally valuable resources hiding in their own backyards while providing research opportunities for biology students, and even received a write-up in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle!
 *photos by R. Laport, J. Ng, J. Ramsey, T. Ramsey, A. Green, or J. Turner unless otherwise noted