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Biologists take to Twitter to advocate for snakes

Published: 08/31/2016

By: Candis Birchfield

A team of experts organized by David Steen, biological sciences faculty member in the College of Sciences and Mathematics and researcher with the Auburn University Museum of Natural History’s Alabama Natural Heritage Program, and Blue Aster Studio, a design firm in Bloomington, Indiana, will answer questions about snakes during a special #SnakeTownHall event on Twitter on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 6-8 p.m. CDT.

Steen, who was dubbed the Best Biologist on Twitter by Slate Magazine, regularly engages with the public to advocate on behalf of snakes and prevent their needless killing, particularly when harmless snake species are mistaken for venomous copperheads and cottonmouths. The #SnakeTownHall event is designed to further this cause by educating the public and highlighting the vital role snakes play in the environment as a means of dispelling unfounded fears and prejudices towards these beneficial animals.

During the #SnakeTownHall, participants will receive answers to all of their questions about snakes from the following experts: Steen (@AlongsideWild); Melissa Amarello (@snakeadvocate), co-founder and director of education at Advocates for Snake Preservation; Emily Taylor (@snakeymama), associate professor of biological sciences at California Polytechnic State University; Bree Putman (@breeput), a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles; Sara Ruane (@sara_and_snakes), a postdoctoral researcher at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science; and Jennifer Moore (@DrReptilia), assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Grand Valley State University. 

In addition to answering questions, the event will combine science and art as Steen will launch a new set of illustrated snake identification graphics designed by Blue Aster Studio, as well as trivia challenges featuring Blue Aster Studio illustrations. All users of the #SnakeTownHall hashtag will be entered into a random drawing to win prizes that feature Blue Aster Studio designs. For more information on the #SnakeTownHall event, contact David Steen at david.steen@auburn.edu.

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