interactive keys

Mary Barkworth Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU
Tue Mar 14 00:49:32 CST 2006

I agree with the necessity of doing groups that interest more than
specialists if we are thinking about generating funding for other
activities.  It is a little difficult though because too many of those
generating the knowledge are not in positions where producing a CD or
paperback book that will make more people engage with organisms earns
brownie points (read promotion, pay increase).  
An idea, not much use for the funding approach - fruit flies and scale
insects should be easy enough to find. Could they be made an integral
part of a science outreach classroom activity? Again, more work would be
required. Don't some kids love looking at bugs under a microscope. Of
course, I have not looked at the CD (nor a scale insect, not a fruit
fly) so I do not know if this is really feasible.  Just a thought. Or
partner with a museum or garden?  


From: Taxacom Discussion List on behalf of Les Watson
Sent: Mon 3/13/2006 8:42 PM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] interactive keys

Susan B. Farmer wrote:

> If you want to entice the public to the idea of using an interactive
> rather than a "picture book," then you need to make the key to
> that John Q. Public is interested in -- be it Leps, caterpillars,
> mushrooms, Spring Wildflowers or someother charasmatic organism.

Yes. I've wondered whether sales of interactive treatments on CD of
groups with numerous amateur devotees worldwide (birds, cacti and
succulents, orchids ...), might even generate surplus funds to help
support genuine taxonomic research. They would need to be nicely
illustrated (with sound effects where appropriate), and aimed and
advertized at the elementary student and semi-popular to popular level.

Professional taxonomists rightly prefer doing their own thing; but the
necessary hardware is widely available, and the methodology for
preparing the data is now sufficiently routine for the task to be
delegated to support staff, who might find it a pleasant diversion from
their other chores.


Dr. Les Watson
10, Maitland Avenue
Little Grove, Albany,         Email: leswatson at
WA 6330, Australia            Phone: +61 (8) 98 44 4398

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