Conserving Quebec’s Caribou

The Conserving Quebec’s Caribou series came to life at a potluck,

where I was speaking with Chrystel, now a PhD student at Université Laval (Quebec City, Quebec). It turns out Chrystel’s fiancée Alex is also a caribou researcher, although they study different questions in different herds.

During the interview process, what struck me was how differently Chrystel and Alex thought about their work, their study species, and the issues that influence them.

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3 reasons why we should tell stories about scientists, not just science.

1. Human details tangibly bring Conserving Quebec caribou_Ia story to life.

Being able to relate to a researcher is key to having an interest in what that person researches. When a science story includes the scientist, a reader can hope for a quirky anecdote, a personal revelation that is highly intriguing, or even a zany description of the scientist’s physical attributes. Continue reading “3 reasons why we should tell stories about scientists, not just science.”

Sketchbook Snapshot: “Nocturnal wonders: Looking closely at a couple of moths”

Have you ever watched a moth breathe?

Or looked so long and carefully at one dangling from a tree branch that it actually seemed to disappear?

To be perfectly candid, I never had until quite recently.

Most of my past Lepidoptera indulgences were focused on the butterflies, with little to no attention paid to the moths, their so-called “plain clothes cousins.”  A few weeks ago, though, National Moth Week notices started catching my attention on social media and science communication news feeds.  So I paid a bit more attention during the last few weeks of our field season, and what a wonderland I found!

Continue reading “Sketchbook Snapshot: “Nocturnal wonders: Looking closely at a couple of moths””

A glimpse of field work in the "Land of the Living Skies"

Picture1Article requested by the Center for Forest Research/Centre d’étude de la fôret.

Published on 06 August 2013, the following piece details some of the highlights of bison research in Prince Albert National Park.

The original publication does not have a unique URL, but can be viewed on the CFR/CEF website as part of a running list of invited articles authored by CEF members.


A glimpse of field work in the “Land of the Living Skies”

Text and photos by Bethann & Jerod Merkle

Continue reading “A glimpse of field work in the "Land of the Living Skies"”

Biodiesel photo in Mother Earth News

One of my first published photographs, aside from those published in my hometown newspaper, was this biodiesel image.  It ran in Mother Earth News in 2008, as part of an article a former roommate wrote about “home brewing” biofuels.  Having spent the previous summer cooking up biodiesel for use at The Nature Conservancy’s Pine Butte Guest Ranch, I couldn’t have been more willing to contribute to Derek’s article.

On the rare occasion that Derek didn’t use his bike, the car would roll away from the “eco-village” house where we lived with a batch of chickens and an international mélange of environmental and conservation grad students.   Normally, that car settled on the curb, well within walking distance of the University of Montana and the Higgins Street bridge.  When we shot the photograph, the sun was just low enough to provide a serendipitous flash on that vintage diesel car, and Mount Sentinel provided a hazy summer background.