August 2023 Newsletter

the power of PLACE

Fox kits

As children we are the original scientists

When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?

From “Song of Childhood” by Peter Handke

As children we are the original scientists.

Born into a world of disordered shape and color we find pattern, grasping onto order to navigate the world. We scaffold reality, integrating novel observations into the known. Research published in Science (2015 Stahl and Feigenson) demonstrated how children explore the world as scientists. They spend more time exploring the unexpected, working as scientists to integrate the novel into the known.

With the passing of time marked by the pace at which the world passes us by, we speed up as we age and see less of the world, relying rather upon internal landscapes to navigate.

Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


The science bug

Brianna Guijosa is an undergraduate who has spent the last two summers at RMBL studying how decomposition adds nutrients to the soil. The decomposing subjects are mice, and the creatures converting them to soil nutrients are carrion beetles and flies.

While a student at East Los Angeles College, Brianna got a scholarship from the National Science Foundation program Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) to create her own research project at RMBL.

The serendipitous way that Brianna landed on mice and carrion beetles as subjects is amusing to her. She was reading a newspaper tacked onto one of RMBL’s outhouses, and a story caught her eye. It seems that human waste left by hikers and campers in the outdoors has become a real issue because it takes so long to decompose. A project focused on recycling sounded appealing. Working with human feces? Not so much.