Adventure Scientists Project Managers Michelle Toshack and Anya Tyson represented both the work we do as a whole and the role of women in particular in science and conservation at a gathering earlier this week. Hosted by the 500 Women Scientists: Bozeman Pod and held at Bunkhouse Brewery the event focused on their work on our Conserving Biodiversity: Pollinators and Timber Tracking projects respectively. 

500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization dedicated to standing up for women and for science, pushing to build an inclusive and diverse scientific enterprise.

“It appealed to me that their mission isn’t only to foster the women-in-science community,” said Anya. “They also have this outward-facing mission of making science more accessible, exciting, and fun for the general public.”

Anya’s previous work involved working with at-risk teens, reaching them through engagement in the outdoors and any other tools at her disposal––including playing the accordion. “I love science communication and science engagement and I have a lot of that in my everyday work at Adventure Scientists, but with so much being computer-based, it is such a joy to be looking people in the eye and seeing them laugh and smile, and feeding off of their in-person energy.”

With such energy in the room, it was the perfect time to bust out that accordion once again. As the Project Manager for our Timber project, she naturally (?) turned to the hit song “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha for inspiration. Have a listen below:

So how did it all go over, women in science speaking about conservation at a bar on a Sunday evening?

“It was awesome,” says Anya. “It was a really good cross section of some early-career (maybe college) folks, and then our peers and other scientists that were presenting, and I think we caught some people by surprise––they were just going for a beer. That’s kind of fun, to have an ambush of science communication.”

“I think it’s important to disrupt the traditional ways that we present research to the public. We got some of those same people who would have come to hear us in a lecture hall who just came to the brewery instead, but we also got those ambush folks.”

As for Michelle, her experience at the 500 Women Scientists event was perhaps best summarized by a recent encounter outside this event. “My 9-year-old niece has recently expressed a strong interest in science,” she said. “And when asked what she wants to study she happily responded, ‘I want to be a butterfly scientist!'”

“What 500 Women Scientists does is really appealing to me because it’s a network that’s about collaboration and showcasing the role of women in this field,” added Anya, “but it’s not just ‘We’re women, we’re in science, hear us roar!’ They also have this mission of a broader service to science.”

To that end, consider that person Michelle mentioned––girl or boy, old or young. When there’s someone new dreaming of a career science, that’s a win for everyone.