Lack of Diversity Hurts Science: Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Is Changing That
There could be some great future wildlife scientists growing up in east Gainesville or in Dillard Park. Too few of them know it.
Keara Clancy believes her blind boa constrictor and a tarantula can help her change that. The 2016 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate attends the University of Florida but regularly leaves campus to take creepy, crawly things to kids in one of my city’s lowest-income neighborhoods.
A six-year-old African-American boy in east Gainesville recently overcame fear and held a tarantula only because an adult he trusted, Keara, held it with him. She has helped other eastside kids extract DNA from strawberries, appealing to kids’ fascination with gross stuff. Her students say the extracted material looks like white snot. She uses that as the entry point for a conversation about the building blocks of life.
Lack of diversity hurts science. Discovery depends on looking at things in a way no one else has before. When the professionals who manage our wild places are not diverse, their decisions may not reflect the larger community’s needs.
The stakes are high. Too little human diversity in wildlife science can limit what we learn about the biodiversity of the planet. The variety of life on earth has implications for our food, our health, and how clean our air and water are...