Thursday, 19 June 2014

Keep it Up (Swab Geldof)

Following on from the huge success of Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll in 2013 the BES Roadies returned with our beautiful blue tent to Cheltenham Race course in May for Wychwood 2014. This years' BES Roadies team saw the return of Sarah, Catherine, Iain and Kate, and first-time Roadies Eduardo, John, Matt and Phil.

For the Lancaster-based Roadies, the weekend started with a journey in a moderately packed car with our famous bees safely between Eduardo’s legs (he is the bees knees!). En route we stopped off for a romantic picnic at the picturesque Frankley services before arriving at a rather muddy festival site!

Setting up before the rain hit
Thankfully, we got both the blue tent, located in the new lush Green area of the festival and our ‘palace’ of a sleeping tent up before the monsoon weather set in. Somehow the only things to get wet in the process were the entire contents of John’s bag (oops)!

Luckily, the rain stopped overnight and after a quick run through on Friday morning we were ready to go with our activities, giveaways and busks, including the new posters and ladybird game, alongside the old favourites #poogame, bug hunts, bees and swabbing. We had a great first afternoon in the tent with so many visitors it was a struggle to get out of the tent at the end of the day. Once we managed to get away we went back to the ‘palace’ for a debrief before heading back to the festival site for food, The Real Thing and The Stranglers followed by a bit of Headphone Disco.
Aphid fishing

Over the weekend we had hundreds of keen visitors to our stall to try out the poogame, find out how gross their festival kit is and see our bees. We also had special appearances from La Cucaracha (The Cockroach) and the Ladybird, although it was a little bit too hot to wear these costumes all weekend!

As with last year, we had several regular visits over the weekend from particularly enthusiastic kids who didn’t want to stop bug hunting or chatting about ecology. One boy in particular had to be pulled away from Matt by his parents when we were enjoying dinner on the Saturday evening whilst asking "Are you having dinner in the same place tomorrow?"

Busy times at the stall
A highlight for us was dancing at Craig Charles’ funk and soul DJ set on Sunday, after which Phil and Sarah were lucky enough to meet him backstage! Other highlights included  spending our evenings in the Comedy Tent, especially the audience participation, and Matt’s extraordinary appearance as ‘The Scorpion’. 
With The Boomtown Rats headlining the festival, we were half expecting Sir Bob to rush over to the BES stall, slam his fists on the bee hive bench, and shout “Give us your honey, NOW” (like at Live Aid), Needless to say, he did not, and we didn’t succeed in our attempts to Swab Geldof.

The festival came to an end with an early start on Monday morning before the long journey back up to Lancaster, with us both playing the role of the sleeping children in the back of the car, with Eduardo keeping John company in the front!
Roadies relax at the headphone disco
Clockwise from top left: Eduardo, Iain,
Phil, Kate, Sarah, Catherine

All in all, another great weekend for the BES Roadies!

Post by Phil and Catherine

Friday, 13 June 2014

Don't You Forget About Me

We've been so busy preparing for our recent roadshow at Wychwood that we've completely neglected the blog, so here's a some brief news in anticipation of a full report and photos from Wychwood's 10th Anniversary.

Wychwood was a great success by all accounts, with lots of bug-hunts, a lively twitter-feed, some new activities and our old favourite the #poogame - we're looking forward to becoming a regular feature at the festival.

We're pleased to announce that an article about 'Sex & Bugs' is featured in the most recent issue of Planet Earth magazine. You can read and download the article here.

Finally, thanks to everyone who participated in our BES members' competition. The winners will be announced shortly!

Monday, 24 February 2014

15 Minutes of Fame

We've had some unexpected but very welcome international attention in the last week.
Sean Mattson of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) has written a great piece on 'Sex & Bugs', which is currently featured on STRI's homepage - a pdf of the article (in English and Spanish) can be downloaded here.

And then Christopher Buddle, of McGill University in Canada, got in touch about our recent article in TREE - he has dedicated a whole post to us on his excellent SciLogs blog Expiscor. Thanks Chris!
A preprint version of the paper is now available for download from our dropbox here.

It's fantastic to get such a positive response from people - scientists and members of the public alike - in different parts of the world.

In the meantime, we're starting to organise our activities for Wychwood Festival 2014, where we'll not only be celebrating ecology, but also the 10th anniversary of the festival itself.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Please Don't Tell me 'bout the News

We've been a bit lax with our blogging over the last couple of months, so following demands on twitter, here's a short post with the latest news.

The headline news has to be: 


Of course, we don't mean the kind of tree with branches and leaves, but the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, where creative public engagement is featured in the latest Spotlight article. Hopefully, the article will motivate other researchers to do some fun public engagement activities!

The paper is already available as a preprint online here. The final version is scheduled to be published in February. It's behind a paywall but you can email us for a reprint.

In other news:


Spotted in Montmartre, Paris. Enter our prize-draw and
maybe you too can make it to France this year
If you're a BES member, you can win your registration to the 2014 Annual Meeting in Lille by entering our prize draw. 

In keeping with the spirit of things, every blog post title since February 2013 is also the title of a rock-, pop-, or folk song. To enter our prize draw, just list the titles of 10 blog posts with the corresponding bands. Full details on how to enter are available in the December issue of the fabulous BES Bulletin