The covid-19 pandemic has been tough on science communication and social media. X (formerly Twitter) is a toxic virtual space, and the algorithms of Instagram make it difficult to see the content that I want to see.
As well, we are now getting slower, less hasty research about the long-term impact of the pandemic, including lockdowns and isolation, on people's health, including cognitive capacity. It's not good.
In 2022, I decided to pull back from doing so much Public Science on social media while I considered how best to make a contribution with limited time. I took a break from posting on my lab blog even as some colleagues started up a Substack. I opened a Mastodon account, and I rarely Tweeted.
In the last two years, I've been doing other kinds of Public Science, and now, I am back to blogging. Recently, after accepting Tik Tok student assignments since 2020, at long last, I made an account. I have been learning just how different this social media channel is, even to Vine and Instagram reels. Yes, there is a lot of frivolity on Tik Tok but it also has the feel that Twitter had, back in the day, of being a useful source of diverse commentary and educational content.
In 2022 I spent nearly two months as the field botanist in the arctic supporting Adventure Canada's re-launched trips after they were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. The mission of this women-led, second generation, Canadian company is committed to Regenerative Tourism is guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the top of this post, you can see me in one of my favourite habitats -- a field of grass -- on Fair Isle in Scotland with Adventure Canada. Thanks to Lorne Demoe for the photo.
In June 2023, we launched a new Fibre Arts educational programme on the Scotland Slowly trips, of which I had first conceived in 2018. I started planning the programme with Prof. Nicole Klenk from the University of Toronto in Fall 2019. More to come on the past two years including my incredible time in Scotland with knitters and weavers, sheep and grass.