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May 8th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : May 12th

Vaccines: How they work and the controversy they inspire

Speaker: Elizabeth Lawlor, Epidemiologist, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

Date: May 12, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Elizabeth will provide a brief background on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. She will then talk about vaccine-hesitancy/anti-vaxers, and some recent vaccine preventable disease outbreaks.

Elizabeth received her professional preparation at George Washington University and the University of Toledo.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

April 20th, 2015

Announcing the Raspberry Pi Innovation Contest Winner

Kansas Citizens for Science sponsored a Raspberry Pi Innovation Contest this school year. The motivation was to increase opportunities for students in coding and engineering. Contestants were to program a Raspberry Pi to run a piece of machinery.

The contest winners were a team from Manhattan High School. They all played ultimate frisbee and decided to build a frisbee launcher. They designed the machine, built it, programmed its controls all with very little teacher input. The team is to be complemented on their excellent work and on appropriate documentation of the development process. You can inspect the team’s work on their website, http://tecnoa.ninja/. The site contains a description of the project, as well as a condensed video that documents the project and a video of the frisbee launcher at work.

Kansas Citizens for Science provided a Raspberry Pi and $150 grant for materials. Congratulations to the winning team from Manhattan High School for their excellent work.

April 10th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : April 14th

Musings on Environmental Challenges Observed in My Travels

Speakers: Harry McDonald, President, Kansas Citizens for Science

Date: April 14, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Travels to south Florida, the central Mexican highlands where monarchs overwinter, and to Syria have produced some interesting perspectives on environmental challenges. Harry will share these and looks forward to considerable discussion. Harry encourages everyone to bring their own observations and experiences to discuss.

Harry is a retired biology teacher remains fascinated by all of science and enjoys a chance to talk science with anyone interested.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

March 10th, 2015

KCFS Board of Directors 2015

Officers

Harry McDonald – President
Science Education Consultant
Olathe, KS

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams – Vice-President
Teacher – High School Physics
Hays, KS

Charlotte McDonald – Secretary
Science Education Consultant
Olathe, KS

Jackie Beucher -Treasurer
Sales Representative
Overland Park, KS


Board of Directors

Phil Baringer
Professor of Physics and Astronomy University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Liz Craig
Writer/Producer
Roeland Park, KS

Gordon Elliott
Computer and Electronics Consultant Computer Signal & Image Systems Corp.
Overland Park, KS

Gene Garman
Author
Pittsburg, KS

Harry Gregory
Retired Teacher
Wichita, KS

Christopher Haufler
Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Mike Herman
Division of Biology Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Martha Hodgesmith
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Crystal Kerr
Biology Teacher
Wichita, KS

Jack Krebs
High School Teacher and Technology Director
Lawrence, KS

Mark Mayfield
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Keith Miller
Department of Geology Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Rev. Douglas Phenix
Retired Minister
Topeka, KS

Patrick Ross
Southwestern College
Winfield, KS

Max Vandament
Feedlot Consultant
Salina, KS

Mark Weiss
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS


KCFS Webmaster

Jeremy Mohn
High School Biology Teacher
Olathe, KS

March 6th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : March 10th

Using Genomics to Forage in Biology

Speakers: Dr. Chris Siedel, Genomic Scientist at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Date: March 10, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

A genome is the composition of the DNA in each cell of an individual. Dr. Siedel will introduce genomics and describe how it has transformed biology. He will discuss how newer genomic technology enables experiments in novel organisms such as studying stem cells in flatworms, and enables personalized medicine to become a reality.

Chris Seidel is a Genomic Scientist at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley. He worked at a small company designing genomic reagents to enable studies in a range of model organisms such as yeast and mouse to pathogens such as malaria and tuberculosis. In 2003 he moved to Kansas City to work at the Stowers Institute to develop and apply genomic methods to basic biological research problems.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

February 18th, 2015

KCFS KATS Kamp Scholarships

Kansas Citizens for Science, a long time partner with KATS, announces scholarships of $100-275 to be awarded to attendees for KATS Kamp this spring.

KCFS realizes that KATS Kamp is the premiere professional development opportunity for science teachers in Kansas. We therefore want to provide the opportunity for increased numbers of K-12 teachers to attend.

Early career teachers who have district/building mentors are encouraged to have their mentors apply also. If an early career teacher is awarded a scholarship, their mentor will receive one also. We want such teams to be able to work together at Kamp. An early career teacher may, of course, apply even if no mentor applies.

KCFS will provide scholarships based on the following criteria:

  • Teachers who will be first time Kamp attendees.
  • Early career teachers.
  • Teachers whose district provides no support for attendance.
  • Teachers who will agree to attend one of the sessions sponsored by KCFS
  • District/building mentors of early career teachers

Award recipients will be expected to apply knowledge obtained at Kamp in their classroom.

Applicants do not have to meet all the above criteria, but these are the criteria which will be used to determine scholarship recipients.

Applications may be downloaded here. Applications should be sent by email to Harry McDonald, KCFS President, biologycctrack@hotmail.com, by March 5.

Recipients will be contacted by March 15 by email.

February 6th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : February 10th

A Trip Around the US: Where the Water Goes….

Speaker: Dr. Brittan Wilson, Liberty North High School

Date: February 10, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Unbeknownst to most, or merely not often thought about, is that all of water in the US is simply moving from one location to the next. Picking up and dropping off nutrients, and organisms, and chemicals along the way. This talk will discuss how our own personal-care-products move throughout the waterways and end up in the unlikeliest of places. How can something as simple as brushing your teeth, impact an organism thousands of miles away? What comes back to us via food sources and drinking water? All things are connected by water, so how is it that we use it so freely, rather than protect it, this our most valuable of resources.

Dr. Brittan A. Wilson received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Environmental Science in 2009. Her research is on the fate and transport of organic contaminants from personal and pharmaceutical products. Her initial research addressed how Triclosan (found in anything labeled “anti-bacterial” in your home) and the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin impacted freshwater and estuarine communities. Her current research, funded by the US Department of Agriculture, addresses the uptake of compounds by commercial crops due to irrigation practices. Having spent 4 years working as a college professor in Ecology and Environmental Science, she has returned to Kansas City to teach at Liberty North High School and continues her research as a consultant. Her continued interest is in the education of the next generation of scientist in Evolutionary Biology, Chemistry and Ecology.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

January 10th, 2015

Johnson County Science Café : January 13th

A Look at Nature: the Beautiful and the Unusual

Speaker: Harry McDonald, President, Kansas Citizens for Science

Date: January 13, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coach’s Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

The new year has just started, so let’s take a look back at 2014 at some of the beautiful sights and finds in science. Many of these definitely qualify as unusual. All areas of science will be included, but feel free to bring your own thoughts on this. Harry will have a list of his favorites from the year ready to share.

This month marks the start of the 6th year of science cafés in Johnson County and will be our 53rd café. We definitely want to thank Coach’s for being our partner for the entire life of the café. Harry is a retired biology teacher remains fascinated by all of science and enjoys a chance to talk science with anyone interested.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

December 9th, 2014

State of Kansas Citizens for Science

From: Harry McDonald, President
KCFS Annual Meeting
November 9, 2014
Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Kansas Citizens for Science is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes a better understanding of what science is and does by:
• Advocating for science education
• Educating the public about the nature and value of science
• Serving as an information resource

Our board met on six occasions in 2014: 1/12, 3/9, 5/4, 7/13, 9/7, 11/9

Once again we maintained our programs while expending only $5,500. We spent $910 for fixed expenses and $4630 on programs supporting our mission this latter amounting to 84% of our income. This is largely due to the unpaid efforts of our Board and our having no paid staff. I suspect we spent even more on programs because I believe our board contributed much by way of unreported in-kind donations.

We raised $4755.80 in memberships and donations. Only $1060 was memberships, so we were able to fulfill our mission largely because of donations including one substantial anonymous donation, and in-kind donations from Board members.

While we can sustain our level of spending for several more years, it is imperative that we raise more money, not only to sustain our current level of program, but to enable us to expand. This should better enabled now that we have an online capability to accept memberships and donations through our website. I encourage all supporters to not only renew/join, but also to make a donation either now or after the first of the year, whichever best suits your tax situation.

Just a reminder, we have ceased paper correspondence with members and members need to go to our website, www.kcfs.org, and subscribe to News and Resources in order to be kept abreast of current happenings.

Below is a list of priorities adopted by the board for 2014 and major activities of KCFS as concerns these.

KCFS priorities for 2014

1. Support the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards.

a. Monitored and corresponded with the State Board of Education on the lawsuit to stop NGSS.
b. Our five presentations at KATS Kamp all focused on this theme.
c. Testified before the House Education Committee on a bill to ban NGSS and Common Core.

2. Function as a science resource

a. Hosted 38 science cafes in Hays, Manhattan, Overland Park and Wichita. Collaborated with AAAS and Skeptic Society for door prizes.
b. Board members made presentations throughout the state and nation dealing with science and science education.
c. Began efforts to get a AAAS science minute on radio stations throughout the state. No results so far.
d. Several board members participated in webinars hosted by the National Center for Science Education
e. Began discussions promoting libraries hosting maker spaces.
f. Maintained our website and Facebook page.

3. Informing the public about policy makers views related to science

a. Hosted a State Board of Education candidate forum in District one (the only contested race in the general election).
b. Sent questionnaires on attitudes concerning science and science education to all State Board of Education and state house and senate candidates. Returned questionnaires were posted on our website.
c. Participated with other groups in lobbying our national congressmen about scientific issues.
d. Continued to monitor state board of education activities regarding science in Kansas and across the nation.

4. Supporting science educators and students and pursuing quality science.

a. Awarded 13 scholarships (valued at $275 each) for teachers to attend the state science teachers convention (KATS Kamp).
b. Hosted a booth at KATS Kamp.
c. Made five presentations at KATS Kamp
d. Started the first Raspberry Pi Initiative to promote programming, software and hardware development experiences in secondary students.
e. Continued efforts to insure that all candidates for a license to teach biology have at least a semester course in evolution.
f. Sponsored two awards at the Kansas State Science and Engineering fair.
g. Provided judges at several science fairs.

Numerous members of the board correspond with national, state, and local agencies and individuals in support of our mission. Our board sits on numerous other boards, committees, and advisory panels and is thus in a position to influence decisions at all levels. This has resulted in our jointly sponsoring events with other organizations. Our organization is truly blessed with the quality of its board.

With an all-volunteer board for an organization that is truly state-wide, you can be proud of the accomplishments of KCFS.

December 4th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : December 9th

Evolution Through an Ecologist’s Eyes:
Niches, Gene Pools, Continuum Theory and Other Non-Traditional Ways of Viewing Evolution

Speaker: Dr. Dick Wilson, Rockhurst University, retired

Date: December 9, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Traditionally evolution is presented in terms of Darwin’s basic postulates. In the classroom there is rarely time to push these ideas beyond those basics. In this Science Café we will look at evolution the way an ecologist is able to see it. Basic niche theory when dissected brings out the clear reasonableness of species evolving naturally. Collectively we will look at why do the tropics have the largest biodiversity. What is the real value of maintaining the biodiversity? What do gene pools tell us about evolution? Does a phenomena such as Continuum Theory give us another example of evolution? Ecologists have lots of ways they demonstrate evolution that rarely get their time in the chaos of the evolution debate and men and apes. We’ll spend some time looking at some of these examples, and will encourage the audience to expand their thinking and offer ideas of their own .

Richard “Dick” Wilson received his PhD from Cornell University in Ecology and Systematics. His original research was on the effect of acid rain fall on natural populations of Salamanders, which was only the second research project published on animals (the first was a year earlier on trout). Throughout his entire career all his research interests were centered on how organisms are able to respond to environmental change, including extremes of temperature, acclimation to environmental conditions, and critical measurements of tolerance in organism. As a Professor at Rockhurst University for 34 years, he taught Ecology, Evolution, and Animal Behavior among other courses.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com