Image: Bob O’Hara, 19 July 2009 [seriously, do you want to look at a larger view?].
Several endorsements are coming my way and they’ve asked me to write an essay that outlines specific reasons why I am the best qualified for the “Blog Your Way to Antarctica” job offered by Quark Expeditions as the official blogger for their February 2010 Antarctica Cruise.
- First and foremost, Quark Expeditions is seeking a blog writer. As they say in the rules;
The successful entrant must agree to post a minimum of 24 blog entries between February 15 and March 5, 2010 that communicate his or her experience prior to departure, during the expedition and on his or her return home.
I have demonstrated that I can exceed their expectations.
First, I have more experience writing a blog than any other candidate in the competition: I’ve written a public blog, Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted), for five years (it went live on 4 August 2004). I publish a variety of entries daily on my blog, including video, photographs and essays, and thus will provide a variety of Antarctic experiences for you, the reader.
Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) went from being relatively unknown to being recognized as worthy of ScienceBlogs (SEED Media Group) as part of “the first wave” of science blog writers recruited for their site. Currently, Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) is popular, having received 3.5 million unique visits since the end of January 2006, when it first went live on the ScienceBlogs site. My readership is steadily increasing.
Additionally, my writing abilities are recognized and respected by my peers. I am one of only a handful of blog writers whose articles have been included in every edition of the Open Laboratory series of books, which celebrates the best science, nature and medical writing published in the blogosphere. The final selections for each volume in this series are made by a committee of my peers: people who write blogs about science, medicine and nature.
- Open Laboratory 2006 (my essay: How do Hummingbirds survive Cold Nights? “Torpor in Hummingbirds“)
- Open Laboratory 2007 (my essay: “Schemochromes: The Physics of Structural Plumage Colors“)
- Open Laboratory 2008 (my essay: “Audubon’s Aviary: Portraits of Endangered Species“)]
- Several of my pieces are included in this year’s competition for publication in Open Laboratory 2009 [list of candidate essays]
In addition to my blog writing experience, I am a freelance writer with more than one decade of experience. The focus of my writing has always been to communicate to the public about a variety of topics in the life sciences: particularly current research, birds, conservation and the environment. My work has been published by the print media in Australia, Europe, the UK, and in the United States, in magazines and journals — including NATURE (July 2009) and SCIENCE (August 2009).
I have repeatedly demonstrated that I am an articulate and enthusiastic communicator with a broad knowledge of nature. I have both guest lectured and taught science and writing courses in universities and colleges in NYC and in Seattle and elsewhere, I’ve volunteered as a day camp counselor where I shepherded young kids around the great outdoors and I’ve both volunteered and been hired as a bird watching field guide for all age groups, ranging from children to college students and older people and skill levels from beginners to experts.
- Prisca Campbell, Quark Expeditions’ Marketing Manager, stated in an email to all the entrants that “we want to spotlight the need to protect the polar regions and we wanted to provide an opportunity for passionate folk to voice their concerns and hopes.” [email available upon request]
I beautifully fulfill these stated goals as well: I have a lifelong track record of passionate support for and writing on behalf of conservation and environmental issues, for example, my essay about how the Plight of the Penguins Predicts the Coming Plight of Humans. Furthermore, I am knowledgeable about specific scientific and conservation research focused upon arctic habitats because I’ve studied whales, seals, and a variety of birds that breed in these areas. I also have easy access to a number of my scientific colleagues who conduct research in the Antarctic and the Arctic. My colleagues are always happy to share their knowledge with me and by extension, with all of my readers, as they have done in the past on this blog.
To summarize, I am the best qualified candidate to provide the public with a written record of what it is like to experience the Antarctic. I have demonstrated that I am an excellent and prolific writer with the passion, the knowledge and the resources necessary to communicate effectively with the public about conservation and environmental issues that affect polar regions. Please vote for me: my entrance essay, in 300 words or less, and my latest photo submitted for this competition.