Scientists from across the nation are planning to gather
April 22 in Washington D.C. for Earth Day to march and take a stand on
the importance of science in political decision-making.
The next day, people in the Athens area can gather in
Oconee County and simply engage scientists in conversations about their
area of expertise.
“Walk and Talk with a Scientist” is sponsored by the
Oconee County Democrats as a nonpartisan gathering, according to Oconee
Democratic Party member Pat Priest, who is spearheading the event.
“We just want to to show our support for scientists and science,” she said.
The walk is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at Herman C.
Michael Park off Georgia Highway 53 and Elder Road. Scientists will
gather at the walking trail, which is paved and about a third of a mile
long. At the trail, people can choose a scientist and walk the trail
with them while talking about that person’s scientific investigations or
study, according to Priest.
Priest said she is still seeking scientists to
participate, but those who have already volunteered include a geologist,
an expert in water toxicity, a botanist, a specialist in endangered
species and an expert on coral reefs.
“Scientists need a place to talk to people directly
about what is going on in the world and their concerns,” she said.
“We’ve asked the scientists to talk about their research but also talk
about the implications of what people can do as a result.”
People can walk with a scientist involved in a field they are interested in, she said, then switch to another scientist.
“Some people will want to get into the nitty-gritty of
subjects like genetics, and others might want to know more about
geology, for example,” she said.
“We’ll invite young people from high schools to come and
that’s really a good opportunity for them. They are always looking to
shadow people,” she said.
Oconee Democratic Party Chairwoman Angie Eells released a statement supporting the event.
“Wonder and truth-seeking are invaluable to the human
experience and we are grateful to the scientists who work diligently to
provide us with research-based information,” Eells said.
But the science walk can also be a Sunday afternoon outing for people elsewhere to visit Oconee County.
“I want to draw people to Oconee County. The park is
along a stretch of pretty pastureland and there is some development of
restaurants people may not know about,” Eells said.
“Aside from talking to scientist, I’m all about people
getting to know one another and being engaged in the community. I’m
hoping that will happen too,” she said.