2015 Children's Science News - Silver


Joan Cartan-Hansen showed scientists at work in an underground chamber at an old power plant in Idaho, swabbing the forearms and noses of hibernating bats in search of evidence for a deadly fungus that has been killing millions of bats across the nation. Cartan-Hansen described the importance of the research in determining whether the outbreak of white nose syndrome had reached southwestern Idaho (there was no evidence of it in the power plant building), and she noted that humans can spread the disease by transporting the fungus on their shoes and clothing from caves harboring infected bats. The video segment was accompanied by a wealth of online information about bats, including interactive games. Judge Paul Basken of The Chronicle for Higher Education said Cartan-Hansen's piece provides "a close-up look at what some scientists really do in their jobs, even if a little icky and scary." Cartan-Hansen said she shares the honor with her colleagues on the "Science Trek" team. She added, "Research shows that by the time students reach fourth grade, a third of boys and girls have lost an interest in science. I believe it is essential to give students, educators, and parents the tools they need to capture and engage young students' interest in the world around them."