AAAS 2013

Courtesy AAAS
Photo Courtesy AAAS

Boston is hosting the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this weekend, and there is lots of crazy cool science-y stuff going on.

Saturday and Sunday are dedicated to kids and families, with interactive science exhibits, tabletop science demos, and plenty of science peeps to talk shop and answer questions for students of all ages. These Family Fun Days are held in the Hynes Convention Center from 11am to 5pm on both days and are completely free. Check out the details here.

If science books are your thing, consider attending the award ceremony for the SB&F Prizes on Saturday. Here are the details:

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Sheraton Hotel, Liberty Ballroom

39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA

And on Sunday, SB&F authors (including me!) will be reading and signing books at the Hynes Convention Center as part of the Family Fun Days festivities. Here’s our schedule:

Readings in Booth #69/70

11:30 -12:00       Sy Montgomery (author of TEMPLE GRANDIN)

12:15-12:45        Penny Chisolm (author of OCEAN SUNLIGHT)

1:00-1:30            Loree Griffin Burns (author of CITIZEN SCIENTISTS)

1:45-2:15            Terrie M. Williams (author of THE ODYSSEY OF KP2)

Signings in Booth #321

12:15-12:45        Sy Montgomery (author of TEMPLE GRANDIN)

1:00-1:30            Penny Chisolm (author of OCEAN SUNLIGHT)

1:45-2:15            Loree Griffin Burns (author of CITIZEN SCIENTISTS)

2:30-3:00            Terrie M. Williams (author of THE ODYSSEY OF KP2)

I hope to see you in Boston!

Citizen Scientists news


The past few months have brought some nice accolades for CITIZEN SCIENTISTS, each of which makes me proud and very, very grateful. Thank you to the teachers, librarians, scientists, reviewers and children’s book lovers who make these awards happen …

  • It was awarded an AAAS/SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books (Hands-On Science category). You can read more about this award and all the 2013 finalists here.
  • The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) named it an Orbis Pictus honor book. You can read about the Orbis Pictus winner, the Orbis Pictus honor books, and more NCTE Recommended titles here.
  • The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) included it on their list of Outstanding Trade Books for Students K-12. Access the complete list here.
  • The New York Public Library included it on their 2013 list of 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing. You can see that complete list here.

Winter Lecture Series

© Loree Griffin Burns

I’m pleased to be part of MassAudubon‘s Friday Night Lecture Series at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary (113 Goodnow Road) in Princeton, Massachusetts this winter. Check out the complete list of the series speakers below, and join us for one or all events. Lecture admission is $7 for MassAudubon members and $10 for nonmembers, and all lectures begin at 7:30pm. Call the Sanctuary at 978-464-2712 if you have any questions.

January 11
Belize it or Not: Mass Audubon’s Tropical Connection
Leader: Bancroft Poor, Mass Audubon’s Vice President

January 25
How Can I Help? Empowering Citizens with Science
Leader: Loree Griffin Burns, Scientist/Author

February 8
A Forest Journey
Leader: Matthew “Twig” Largess, Certified Arborist, Largess Forestr, Inc

February 22
Management of Grassland and Shrubland Habitats for Declining Wildlife Species in Massachusetts
Leader: John Scanlon, Forestry Project Leader

March 8
Life as a Field Artist
Leader: Gordon Morrison, Artist, Naturalist and Author

March 22
The Nature of Mongolia
Leader: Chris Leahy, MassAudubon Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Ornithology

April 12
Nature Potpourri
Leader: Gail Hansche Godin, Photographer/Naturalist

Where Science Meets Adventure


Attention teachers and science lovers: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched a new website devoted entirely to the award-winning Scientists in the Field (SITF) series. These books for upper elementary and middle school students cover an impressive array of science topics, from honey bees and trash (my two entries in the series, pictured above) to sea horses, wild horses, manatees, tarantulas, anthropology, space exploration, and beyond. The new site includes an overview of the series, including every SITF title, and features sneak peeks from upcoming titles and updates from the authors.

What are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Citizen Science in Central Mass

I’m participating in some pretty cool MassAudubon citizen science events in the coming months and hope you’ll consider joining me:

Citizen Science Sampler
Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
414 Massasoit Road, Worcester, MA
Saturday, May 19, 1-3pm

In this free event, participants will learn about four important citizen science projects ongoing at Broad Meadow Brook (Monarch Larval Monitoring Project, Oriole Project, and Lost Ladybug Project and a Red-backed Salamander study). After a brief introduction to each, we’ll head out into the field to try our hand at the various projects. I’ll be on hand to talk about Lost Ladybug Project (see below) and to talk about my new book, Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard.

Hunting for Lost Ladybugs
Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary
113 Goodnow Road, Princeton, MA
Saturday, May 26, 1-3pm
Friday, June 22, 10am-12noon
Saturday, July 28, 10am-12noon
Saturday, August 25, 10am-12noon

Scientists at The Lost Ladybug Project are searching for rare native ladybug species, and you can help find them. Spend the morning with my daughter and I brushing up on ladybug biology, learning to identify common and rare species, and documenting ladybugs here at Wachusett Meadow … then go home and survey the ladybugs living in your backyard. Bring sharp eyes and a digital camera, if you have one. Please dress for meadow hiking, and remember that it’s tick season!

Please note: Registration is required for this event, and fees apply. See this link for details.

Edited on to add: The June ladybugging date has changed from Saturday, June 23 to Friday, June22. I’ve inserted the change above. Hope to see you there!

USA Science & Engineering Festival

Later this month, science fans from around the country will descend on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, for a celebration of all things science. The second USA Science & Engineering Festival is a free two-day event boasting thousands of hands-on activities, exhibits, and presentations. I’ll be speaking on the Family stage Saturday, April 28 at 4:25pm, and signing books at the Signing Stage at 5:30pm on the same day. (Woot! Woot!) Come on by and say hello!

Find details about the festival, featured activities, the book fair, and all the featured authors on the official festival website.


My NSTA 2012 Deets

This week I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation for the National Science Teachers Association annual conference, and preparing for a panel presentation too. If you’re planning to join the festivities in Indianapolis, I’d love to see you at one or both events. Here are the details:

How Can I Help? Empowering Students with Citizen Science
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Westin Indianapolis, Capitol II

As a scientist, a writer, and a mother, Dr. Loree Griffin Burns is committed to providing children with accurate, age-appropriate information about real world events. Drawing on her experiences researching and writing about environmental issues from ocean pollution to the collapse of honey bee populations, Burns proposes a formula for sharing these stories without scaring students: give them something meaningful they can do to help. From tallying beach debris (International Coastal Cleanup) and monitoring native bee populations (Great Sunflower Project) to tagging monarch butterflies (Monarch Watch) and hunting ladybugs (Lost Ladybug Project), Burns has practiced citizen science in her own backyard, coordinated events in her community, introduced projects into schools, and observed events from Central Park to central Mexico. In this workshop, she’ll recommend a variety of nationally organized and freely available citizen science projects, pairing them with trade books to help teachers promote both inquiry and literacy in their science classrooms.

Integrating Science and Literacy: A Journey, Not a Destination
Friday, March 30, 2012
JW Marriott Indianapolis, White River Ballroom D

This session offers teachers and administrators an opportunity to learn from authors how to integrate their award-winning trade books into science instruction. Participants can get up close and personal with these acclaimed authors:

Loree Griffin Burns
April Pulley Sayre
Peggy Thomas
Pamela S. Turner
Sallie Wolf
Wendy Saul

Other presenters are educators who have served or chaired the NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book Committee. Opportunities will be available to work in small groups with the authors and vetted activities will be shared.

Edited to Add:
In addition to the two presentations described above, I’ll be signing copies of Tracking Trash and The Hive Detectives at the NSTA conference in Indianapolis next week. Here are the details:

Friday, March 30
Indiana Convention Center
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Booth #1467

And get this: the fine folks at HMH are giving the books away, while supplies last. Come on over and get one; I’ll be happy to sign it for you!

Leap Day Book Launches!

“What is citizen science, anyway?” So begins this journey into the surprising world of science for everyone, everywhere. Part job description, part nature study, and part beginner field guide, Citizen Scientists invites readers of all ages to think of themselves as scientists, encouraging them to begin by tagging butterflies, counting birds, identifying frogs, and hunting ladybugs…

It’s here! It’s finally here! My newest book for young readers, Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard will be published on February 14, 2012. Photographer Ellen Harasimowicz and I will be launching the book in two public events, one at her local library and one at mine. In keeping with the books outdoorsy nature, and in celebration of the amphibians that star in chapter three (“Frogging in Spring”), we’re holding these events on Leap Day, February 29, 2012.

We’ll share the people and places that helped us create the book in a short, all-ages presentation. A book sale and signing will follow. Here are the details:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 1:30pm
Harvard Public Library
4 Pond Road
Harvard, MA

Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 6pm
Beaman Memorial Public Library
8 Newton Street
West Boylston, MA

Please feel free to help us spread the word by sharing a link to this post. And if your free, we hope you’ll come and help us celebrate!

Sneak Peek!

I’m thrilled to be part of the Worcester Writers Collaborative Author Explosion on January 29 at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westboro, Massachusetts, where more than a dozen local authors will be reading and signing copies of their books in a single afternoon. We are a diverse group of writers, creating books for children as well as adults, works of fiction and of nonfiction, books published traditionally and books published on our own. If you live in central Massachusetts and would like to learn more about the variety of writers living and working near you, do stop in and say hello. We’d love to meet you. Here are the event details:

Saturday, January 29, 2012, 1-4pm
Tatnuck Bookseller
18 Lyman Street
Westborough, MA

I’ll be on hand to talk about and sign copies of The Hive Detectives and Tracking Trash. Since Citizen Scientists releases just two short weeks later, however, I’ve decided to dedicate my reading time to a Sneak Peek! I’m scheduled to read at 1:30pm, but plan to hang around, enjoy the festivities, and mingle with attendees and with my fellow authors all afternoon. I hope to see you there!

Got Bugs?

Okay, Scientists in the Field (SITF) fans … do you remember this Donna M. Jackson title from 2002? Of course you do. How could you forget that cover? I remember reading it back when I was obsessively studying the SITF series and preparing to pitch my own title to its editors. That pitch became my first book, Tracking Trash, and now, in just a couple hours, I’ll be in a conference call with Tom Turpin, the guy up there with the bugs on his face.

Can I just take a moment to say that this sort of full circle stuff thrills me to no end?

Anyway, Tom and I are joining forces with a group of scientists and educators to tout the power of insects in science education. We’ll be sharing our ideas later this month at the Entomological Society of America annual conference in Reno, Nevada, in a morning-long symposium. If you happen to be in ‘the biggest little city in the world’ at the same time, do please stop by and say hello. I don’t think there are any plans for us to wear bugs, but you never know …