Simon Bird


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Richmond

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am an ecologist and conservation biologist focusing on environmental education and urban conservation. My research and teaching interests center around land use ecology, urban ecology, invertebrate biodiversity, soil system dynamics, and enhancing community-based conservation. I have two decades of experience teaching ecology, conservation biology, entomology, and environmental science at Columbia University, New York University, the City University of New York, and the University of Wales, and has a wealth of field experience in urban, desert, forest, grassland, coastal, and upland ecosystems. As coordinator of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat and Connecting People with Nature programs in California, I developed and implemented a diversity of community-focused conservation and education efforts throughout the state. I has co-authored interactive e-textbook chapters and online simulation labs for teaching ecology and environmental science, and have interests in novel, innovative education approaches.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    If you have an enquiring mind, want to make a significant impact on contributing to new knowledge, and are interested in solving real world problems, then a career in science is for you. Being a scientist allows you to make the connection between a long history of other scientists’ work and your own experimentation and exploration, which can be deeply satisfying. Conducting scientific work is also creative and it can be a lot of fun to experiment and test your own new ideas. You also have the ability and potential to positively affect society, both locally and globally, particularly with more applied scientific approaches.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I am particularly taken by plants and other organisms that are highly and successfully adapted to extreme and specific conditions such as plants that can survive and thrive in hot, arid deserts in which rainfall events and periods of precipitation occur sporadically and at low frequency. For example, Phreatophytes such as mesquite have developed extremely long, deep root systems that can draw water from deep underground. Mesquite's tap roots can be upto 70 to 80 feet in length, and often give the plant a strong competitive advantage in times of drought.

  • Profile Question 3
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    In general, it is a great idea to start to explore areas of science that you have most curiosity and passion about as soon as you are able, while not specializing too soon. Be proactive in getting to know the science teachers and speakers that spark that curiosity. While you need the foundational skills and knowledge provided by general science classes, don't get bogged down too much by course choices and program requirements. Your time as a high school and undergraduate student is prime time for exploration and experimentation, so embrace opportunities to do so within different scientific disciplines.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

The Effect Of Light Color Simon Bird

Great, thanks for sharing those, you two!  And congratulations on completing your experiment.  A few questions for you to ponder:

  • Do you think the different treatments really produced different results - how might you test that?
  • Wh…
The Effect Of Light Color Simon Bird

Hi Trevor,

This looks great. 

First thing I suggest is that you include a prediction for your experimental outcome right at the start - this hypothesis is what your experiment will test.  You can base that on what you already know or…

The Effect Of Light Color Simon Bird

Hi Brandon & Trevor, this is Simon. 

I'm excited about hearing about your ideas and work for this project.  A little background on me:  I'm a general ecologist and conservation biologist who has been teaching at the…


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