As somebody who has done my share of specimen collecting and other measurements in streams, rivers, coastal ecosystems, and beyond, it’s worth considering what risks I have been able to ignore in wading through creeks or land behind homes for access to sampling sites because it can be explained away as serving the mission of science, or at least, the University of Georgia.
Scientists who don’t look or identify the same as myself in all sorts of ways can run into real problems trying to gain the same access – and it can get dangerous. As a matter of fact, the National Science Foundation is now ensuring that funded scientists have a plan for safe access for their student researchers to be able to perform collections from natural populations in an equitable and appropriate way.
So, knowing the work that Dr. Delco performed over 60 years ago – against the backdrop of the Greensboro, NC sit-ins and so much other focus on civil rights and social change – it’s a good time to celebrate his work that went into knowing about these fish and their history of interaction and change. The 116 red shiners we have at GMNH, and the 881 blacktail shiners, have a LOT to tell us about their history, as well as our own.
And if you want to read more about how important this work, and access to natural spaces, can be for a biologist then you will want to read Dr. Drew Lanham’s book The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature and hope that you are as excited as we are about having Dr. Lanham as our speaker at 2023 Celebration!
Thanks for reading.