Best of the BEES

The motto of Drexel University’s Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science is “Field Experience, Early and Often,” and The Drexel Collection’s newest exhibit showcases how the College of Arts and Sciences department offers exactly that.

In the Field, which will run in the Rincliffe Gallery through Nov. 8, exhibits photography and shows off some of the objects that faculty and staff utilize to conduct research and contribute to the Drexel ecosystem. There’s the close partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, one of the university’s most notable research centers which holds more than 18 million specimens that are used by the BEES department to illustrate concepts in the classroom and the fields.

GEO 103, or “Introduction to Field Methods in Earth Sciences,” takes first-year students on geological experiences for hands-on field trips, like this one showing the metamorphic rocks of the Wissahickon Schist. Photo credit: Ted Daeschler/ANS

And there are the student co-ops, in which Dragons work at facilities and field sites both locally and around the world. But, most of all, there’s the hands-on experience, mentorship opportunities and experiential learning that the students are exposed to during their experiences at Drexel.

These concepts, and more, are illustrated in the student- and faculty-submitted photos of what they’ve accomplished in the field, from reviewing leaves after a forest fire in the Penn State Forest to studying the activity of a stream in Germany to collecting fish and tadpoles in Barnegat Bay, N.J. The Dragons also wrote the accompanying captions and labels to explain what they’ve done while conducting research and what they’ve learned on co-op and in field-intensive courses.

The water in Germany’s Klate Bode River appears green after it came in contact with fluorescein, a non-reactive dye used to study the hydrology and metabolic activity of the stream. Photo credit: Marie J. Kurz/ANS

Featured in an exhibition opening during the centennial of Drexel’s flagship co-op program, these photos showcase not just the hands-on training that the students receive, but the rich and diverse locations and environmental and geoscience programs that can be explored through the BEES department’s three undergraduate majors, three minors and comprehensive master’s and PhD programs.

BEES students examining rocks in Hickory Run State Park in Pennsylvania. Photo credit: Roger L. Thomas/ANS

In the Field  also features certain tools of the trade that these students and faculty regularly use in their research and studies. These objects include bird specimens from the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Ornithology Collection and a flow meter used to measure how fast water flows within a stream or a river.

Additionally, a seismometer used by Amanda Lough, PhD, an assistant professor in the department, to detect earthquakes is employed to show the vibrations of the foot traffic in the Rincliffe Gallery, where the exhibition is displayed.

Mussels collected in Pennsylvania’s Green Lake Resevoir. Photo credit: Roger L. Thomas/ANS

In addition to providing the art and artifacts in this exhibition, the BEES department will also hold a free and educational lecture on Nov. 7. David Velinsky, PhD, BEES department head and professor and vice president for Academy science at the Academy of Natural Sciences, will talk about some of the research projects that are in the exhibition and how they are applied and used within our society.

The Drexel Collection, since its inception as one of the founding departments of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry, uses art and artifacts as teaching materials to educate Drexel students academically through cultural learning. In the Field perfectly aligns with this educational mission by making art out of the ways that Drexel faculty and students conduct research.


By Alissa Falcone

This story was first published by DrexelNow.

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