Louisiana (2012)

A team of three traveled to southwest Louisiana from February 7th through 10th, 2012.  Two of the three were Roadshow “veterans” (NESCent postdoc Julie Meachen was part of “Team Iowa – 2011”, and NESCent Asst. Director of Education/Outreach Jory Weintraub was part of “Team Virginia – 2011”), and the third member of the team (NESCent postdoc Kate Hertweck) was road-tripping for the first time.

Our first stop was Rayne High School in Rayne, LA (known both as “The Frog Capitol of the World” and “Louisiana City of Murals” – and, yes, several of the murals feature frogs!).

Julie and Kate at the entrance to Rayne High School

Our host there was biology teacher Bernardine Stewart, and she and her colleagues were tremendously gracious and welcoming.

Bernardine, Julie and Kate

The entire student body (all classes from all four grades) packed the school gym to hear our presentations.

Rayne High School students listen to Kate’s presentation on “junk DNA”

Jory talks about Charles Darwin, who he was and why we celebrate his birthday

Kate and Julie answer questions from the audience

Bernardine Stewart displays a certificate proclaiming her a “NESCent Darwin Day Scholar”, with two of her colleagues from Rayne High School and “Team Louisiana” (Julie, Kate and Jory).

Our next stop was J.I. Watson Middle School in Iowa, Louisiana, populataion 2,663, where we were hosted by science teacher Marianne Rodriguez.

Marianne Rodriguez has her “NESCent Darwin Day Scholar” certificate presented to her by Jory Weintraub.

We once again packed the school gym with students so we could deliver a number of presentations to several different grades.

Julie answers questions about evolution of carnivores. Most of the questions were some variation of “who would win in a fight between…” and then some combination of large carnivores were mentioned.

After multiple presentations to hundreds of middle-schoolers and high school students over a two day period, and after several INCREDIBLE cajun meals, we headed home to North Carolina, forever appreciative of the southern hospitality shown to us by our terrific hosts in Louisiana!

Kate and Julie rest up on the flight home, after two busy, but rewarding days in Louisiana.