#COVIDCalls and the Academy of Natural Sciences
In June, Drexel University Professor and head of its Department of History Scott Knowles, PhD, hosted a series of special episodes on his #COVIDCalls podcast (which he started early on in the pandemic) to talk to experts from the Academy of Natural Sciences about COVID-19.
“I was looking to do a series of #COVIDCalls discussions with the Academy and [its President and CEO] Scott Cooper very kindly welcomed the idea — even though it was (and is) a busy time for them,” said Knowles, who was named one of the recipients of the University’s Rapid Response Research and Development Fund in April. “I worked with [ANS Vice President of Marketing] Jane Taylor to develop five hour-long discussions that placed the many different activities of ANS researchers, educators, and staff into the context of COVID-19.”
Every Tuesday in June, Knowles virtually sat down with ANS experts (12 total, plus the director of the Penn Museum) to discuss COVID-19 as it relates to biodiversity, water quality, environmental justice and maintaining museums and their collections.
“One of my very favorite moments — one that brought some light in the midst of a dark time —was on June 2, when in a discussion of biodiversity and COVID-19, ornithologist Jason Weckstein (on his computer at home) heard and identified a woodpecker in MY yard in New Jersey in the midst of our video discussion,” said Knowles. “It was a small moment that meant a lot to me — showing how we can use this medium to connect over distance and find ways to allow our common curiosities and concerns bring us together.”
June 2: “Academy of Natural Sciences Part 1: Biodiversity & the Pandemic” featuring:
- Ichthyology Collection Manager Mariangeles Arce H., PhD.
- Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environ Science (BEES) and Academy Associate Curator in the Department of Ornithology Jason Weckstein, PhD
- BEES Professor and Academy Curator of Botany and Director of the Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution Richard McCourt, PhD.
June 9: “Academy of Natural Sciences Part 2: Maintaining the Collection” featuring:
- BEES Professor and Academy Director of Library and Archives Ted Daeschler, PhD.
- Academy Interim Curator of Ichthyology Mark Sabaj, PhD
- Academy Chief Learning and Engagement Officer Niki Ciccotelli Stewart
June 16: “Academy of Natural Sciences Part 3: COVID-19 and Water Quality” featuring:
- BEES Assistant Research Professor and Watershed Ecology Section Lead of the Academy’s Patrick Center of Environmental Research Stefanie Kroll, PhD
- BEES Department Head and Professor and Academy Vice President of the Center for Academy Science David Velinsky, PhD
June 23: “Academy of Natural Sciences Part 4: Environmental Justice” featuring:
- Mariangeles Arce H., PhD
- BEES Assistant Research Professor, Academy Director of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program and Dolan Fellow for Innovation in Water Science, Patrick Center for Environmental Research Alexis Schulman, PhD
- Director of the Academy’s Patrick Center for Environmental Research and Delaware River Watershed Initiative Roland Wall, PhD
June 30: “Academy of Natural Sciences Part 5: The Pandemic and the Museum” featuring
- ANS President and CEO Scott Cooper, PhD
- Williams Director of the Penn Museum Julian Siggers, PhD