Red River Gorge, KY

Red River Gorge, KY

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's a Brand New Semester!

Hello, I'm Josh, and I'm an entomologist.

Let's start over.

I'm Josh, and I'm a Kentuckian. I speak for the trees. I have interests which are wide and varied, but one of them is the natural world that surrounds us. Often, this world seems invisible, as though it's just beyond what we can see as we drive to work or walk to class, spend the day inside, and make our way back again. Yet this world can easily be seen if we take time from our routines and allow ourselves to see it, even if we are surrounded by an urban environment. This may sound a bit flowery, but I think it's vital that we each slow down and begin to pay attention to, and understand, local biodiversity.

The Fall 2014 term at Transylvania University gets underway on Tuesday, September 2! I feel a sense of great anticipation and eagerness for the semester to begin. In addition to coordinating labs in the Biology department, I'll be leading a non-majors course called BIO 1064: Biology and Human Concerns. Since I have some latitude in designing the course, we'll spend the semester discussing natural history, biodiversity, and conservation issues in Kentucky. We'll use Kentucky's Natural Heritage, edited by Abernathy, White, Laudermilk, and Evans.

You can find it on

This book is beautiful, and could easily pass as a coffee table book. However, many knowledgeable local ecologists, biologists, and naturalists contributed to this book, and as a result it provides the best holistic view of Kentucky's natural history, physical geography, and biodiversity out there.

My hope is that this course will provide my students some basic naturalist skills, an understanding of how natural history has been important to the development of the biological sciences, and why conservation and wise use of natural resources continues to be of critical importance. I also plan to spend as much time as possible outside, learning to identify native trees, birds, and insects! 

Finally, the students will be blogging this semester, and I look forward to reading their posts and seeing what topics they're interested in. I plan to post the links to their blogs as soon as they're set up, so you should be able to check them out as well! 

This should be a great semester! 

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