“To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country- or sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.” Thomas Huxley
It is impossible to appreciate our natural landscapes without an understanding of natural history. In addition, applied conservation research is of little use without a galvanized public interested in incorporating findings into management and policy.
Most of the outreach I do is on behalf of The Alongside Wildlife Foundation, my 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.
- My primary outreach contribution is my award-winning science blog, where I write about natural history, ecology, and research; my blog has amassed nearly seven million views.
- A recent survey suggested 83% of Americans could not name a living scientist (those that could typically named Stephen Hawking) and do not know what a scientist does. I joined Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to pass on wildlife-related news, to answer wildlife questions, and introduce people to a wildlife scientist; I am now followed by tens of thousands of people.”The Best Biologist on Twitter “- Slate Magazine
“David Steen has become a Twitter sensation…” – Reptile Ecology and Conservation
“Steen is a genius of hashtag herpetology.” – The Verge
- I make myself available to the media and appear frequently in interviews, podcasts, and videos; this is important not only because it helps communicate science to the general public but it also boosts scientific impact.
- My writing about wildlife ecology and conservation also appears in other online outlets, like Slate, Motherboard, Earth Touch, and LiveScience.
Keep an eye out for my first book, Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond The Myths, to be published by Texas A&M University Press in 2020!
I am always looking to form new collaborations to communicate science in novel ways. For example, check out this post on Buzz Hoot Roar communicating the ecosystem services provided by snakes (artwork by Brooke Hatfield) or these comics communicating cottonmouth myths and what to do when you find a turtle on the road (artwork by Rosemary Mosco of Bird and Moon Comics).
I have also worked with Blue Aster Studio to produce graphics to accompany my interactions with the general public, particularly identification requests. You can purchase merchandise based on these graphics here.
I am interested in producing educational materials to help others appreciate their local natural history and resolve backyard conflicts with wildlife. For example, over 50,000 copies of my brochure on minimizing conflict with venomous snakes have been distributed throughout the southeastern United States and I helped produce these amphibian and reptile checklists of Alabama National Forests that were published by the Forest Service.