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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

October 31st, 2014

KCFS Annual Membership Meeting : November 9th

What: Annual Membership Meeting

Date: Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time: 2:00 pm

Where: Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave

All members are invited to join us for our annual membership meeting. Light refreshments will be served. The election of officers and board members will be held. We will review the accomplishments of KCFS for the year and discuss our future plans.

It is time to renew your membership and the meeting is a great opportunity to do so, so bring your checkbook.

If you are unable to join us in Topeka, you can now join/renew/donate online at www.kcfs.org.

Please do consider making a donation. We have been trying to increase the number of teachers who can afford to attend the state science teachers convention by providing scholarships for teachers. One scholarship costs $280 to pay for a teacher’s registration, room and board for three days of professional development.

For more information contact Harry McDonald, President – biologycctrack@hotmail.com.

October 29th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : November 4th

Ebola: Past, Present, Future

Speaker: Dr. Catherine Satterwhite, University of Kansas Medical School
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Date: November 4, 2014 This is election day. Make plans to vote before you come.

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.

The first outbreak of Ebola occurred almost 40 years ago, in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo). That outbreak resulted in an estimated 318 cases. Since that time, there have been an additional 33 documented Ebola outbreaks. The current outbreak, with over 4,500 confirmed cases, is by far the largest documented outbreak in history. During this café, we will be discussing the history of Ebola outbreaks, how Ebola is transmitted, public health strategies used to control Ebola outbreaks, and the current Ebola outbreak, including the role of politics and economics and international efforts to address the outbreak.

Catherine Lindsey Satterwhite is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas Medical School. Dr. Satterwhite is an infectious disease epidemiologist who spent over 10 years working for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), first in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, then in the Division of STD Prevention. Dr. Satterwhite teaches evidence-based medicine to medical students throughout the curriculum and teaches both Principles of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Epidemiology to students across many health professions. Dr. Satterwhite has a joint academic appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and continues to be a Visiting Scientist for CDC.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

October 13th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : October 14th

Dr Livingston then Dr Vandewalle: A journey through medicine, science and wildlife in Southern Africa

Speaker: John Vandewalle, CEO-Lumen Touch and CEO-Creative Restaurant Concepts

Date: October 14, 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.

Join us as John shares a personal view of the science associated with South Africa. John will share what it was like growing up in South Africa and share his knowledge of South Africa as it relates to Australopithecus, important minerals, wild life, and experience as a doctor in Africa. John’s father was a physician and once served as the first doctor to work at a particular mission station since Dr. David Livingston, the Dr. Livingston, I presume. John once hitch-hiked on his own from Johannesburg through the Okavango Swamps. He practiced in a large hospital where adhering to social mores were as important as medicine.

John spent most of his youth in touch with nature and did his undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry. After receiving his medical degree, he worked in hospitals and private practice and eventually joined the pharmaceutical industry. At one point, he was Research and Development Director for Southern Africa which took him to the Congo and other countries to do research programs on TB. John has lived in Overland Park for the last 25 years.

Our November cafe will focus on the epidemiology of Ebola. This will be held on election night, Nov. 4. Please make plans to join us that evening, but first arrange to vote early, use an absentee ballot, or make sure to vote early that day.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

September 2nd, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : September 9th

History of Early Astronomy – Ptolemy through Newton

Speakers: Lario Yerino, Chemistry and Physics teacher, Liberty North High School

Date: September 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.

Starting with the Earth-centered solar system of Ptolemy we will look at the events that led to the acceptance of the Sun-centered solar system through photographs of rare books from Linda Hall Library’s Rare Book collection. The Linda Hall Library is the world’s foremost independent research library devoted to science, engineering and technology. In 1947, the purchase of the entire library of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences provided the foundation of a rare book and reference collection to support research in the history of science and technology. Among other holdings are: Nicolaus Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (Nuremberg, 1543), Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (London, 1687). Photographs from books such as these, found here in Kansas City, will be used to tell this story.

Lario Yerino has loved science since he was very young. His interests include chemistry, physics, astronomy (he built his own telescope that stands 8 feet tall with a 20-inch mirror), electronic circuit design, and geology. Trained as a synthetic organic chemist he worked as a research and industrial chemist for 11 years. Lario left the chemical industry to pursue teaching chemistry and physics and is currently at Liberty North High School in Liberty, MO. “The various fields of science are a continuum, with one field overlapping into the next. To me it is beautiful picture. I love to share that picture with my students… I want them to see the world through my eyes.” Come and share Lario’s vision yourself.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

June 27th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : July 15th

(This is a special event and reservations are encouraged and necessary if using the buffet – see below)

Food Safety Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Speakers: Dr. Sara Gragg, Assistant Professor – Food Science, K-State Olathe, and Dr. Londa Nwadike, Assistant Professor – Food Safety, K-State Extension

Date: July 15, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: K-State Olathe, 22201 W. Innovation Dr., Olathe, KS 66061, just East of K-7 just North of College.

Numerous food safety myths seem to persist in our culture, often propagated through popular media and by statements such as “my grandmother always did it this way and she never had any problems”. Some of these myths may seem logical, but upon closer examination, may not be based on accurate scientific research. We will discuss some of these food safety myths and how science can help us to prove or dis-prove these myths.

Dr. Nwadike works in both Kansas and Missouri to develop programming and resources in food safety, focusing on consumer issues. She has worked for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization based in Rome, Italy. She also has extensive experience living and traveling in Africa. Research interests include: behavior change in consumers in relation to food safety practices, methods of providing food safety information to consumers, and Community Participatory Research.

Dr. Gragg has traveled extensively presenting on the topic of food safety and studying processes in food safety and microbiology. Her research interests include: food safety & food microbiology, pre-harvest and post-harvest settings (produce, meat and poultry), emphasis on reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in the food supply, leafy greens, meat industry, with a specific interest in beef, researching the efficacy of novel interventions, and identification of high risk tissues and their potential association with pathogen carriage in cattle.

A Taco Bar will be catered by On The Border. Two (2) tacos (choice of chicken or beef), rice, beans and chips and salsa plus water, iced tea, Coke or Diet Coke are available for $10. Pay that night with check or cash.

Beverages only are available for $1.50. Pay that night with cash.

We ask everyone attending to reply to biologycctrack@hotmail.com, indicating whether or not you will use the taco bar, drinks only, or just attend.

If you find, at the last minute, that you can attend, feel free to do so but a reservation will help us determine the seating provided and the quantity of food to order.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

June 18th, 2014

2014 Kansas Election Questionnaires

In the belief that the Kansas electorate deserves to know candidates’ positions on issues affecting science and science education, KCFS has asked all candidates for the Kansas Senate, Kansas House, and Kansas State Board of Education to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaires that are returned will be posted on our 2014 Kansas Election Questionnaires page.

As a 501(c)3 organization, Kansas Citizens for Science does not endorse candidates. However, part of our mission is to serve as an information resource for all Kansas citizens. This includes information about political candidates’ views regarding science. These questionnaires are an effort to ensure that votes are cast from knowledge about candidates rather than from ignorance.

June 6th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : June 10th

Science Potpourri

Speaker: Harry McDonald

Date: June 10, 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.

Time once again to get together and discuss various things that are going on in the world of science, watch short science videos, and in general discuss any science subject you would like. Harry will produce a list of topics of items he has found interesting in the last six months or so as well as select some interesting videos. You can do the same, just bring web addresses for the videos or put them on a flash drive or DVD. We haven’t done this in almost a year, so there should be a lot to share.

I am looking at having our July meeting, likely July 15, at the K-State Olathe campus with presentations from two of their researchers dealing with food safety. Will share final details when I have them. Reservations will be necessary for us to arrange catering of light food and drink for the evening. I will keep the cost to a minimum and will solicit opinions when we meet next Tuesday. I hope to have an option to attend with no food or drink for those that prefer but K-State would still need to know how many to expect, so reservations will still be in order. Keep an eye out for the announcement. I will get it out earlier to facilitate reservations. We will return to our regular location at Coach’s next September, taking August off as usual.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

May 8th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : May 13th

Big Data – The Art of Insight

Speakers: Kurt Ruf, Partner of Ruf Strategic Solutions

Date: May 13, 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.

One of the key challenges facing any business or science professional is how to use data to drive strategic decisions. This session will highlight the use of Big Data across science and business. The primary emphasis will share how businesses can gain Big Data insight about their customers with demographic and other data. Tools can answer questions related to:

Who is the customer
What do they buy or not buy
Where are they located
When is the opportune time to reach them
How many prospects are there and
Which media channels will perform the best

A sample case study will demonstrate how to use insight tools to solve real world problems and share tools that allow the data scientist to solve common business challenges.

Kurtis Ruf is a Partner at Ruf Strategic Solutions, a fast growing, Big Data and Market Analytics Firm. The firm specializes in bringing together multiple sources of big data and then analyzing patterns within the data to produce marketing research and customer prospect targeting solutions. The firm has pioneered many research techniques currently used in digital and direct marketing industry. Kurt is also an author of the college text book “Contemporary Database Marketing”.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com