Tales from a mixed-species flock: Stories across ornithology

storytelling event

Please join your friends and colleagues for an evening of laughter, tears, and joy as we listen to five captivating stories that reflect the depth and breadth of experiences within our ornithological community.

Like our event for the NAOC last year, we will feature five storytellers that will share 8–10 minute stories. Skilled story coaches will work with storytellers for 1 month prior to the meeting to craft their stories for the virtual stage. Story coaching will involve several 1-hour one-on-one virtual sessions tailored to participants to focus on developing their personal narratives. The preparation and coaching that our storytellers will receive is a valuable form of professional development that will help speakers improve their science communication and public speaking skills. Learning the art of storytelling makes science and the people behind it more accessible, inclusive, and relevant for broad audiences. 

If you are interested in joining us on the virtual stage to share a personal story from your experiences in ornithology, please fill out this google form with a short pitch of your story (200-word max) by 1 July. We strongly encourage pitches from ornithologists that self-identify as members of historically underrepresented groups in ornithology and birding. We also welcome story pitches from ornithologists who speak English as a second language (stories can be multilingual and translation will be available). Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with your colleagues in the ornithology community in a new and exciting way!

For more information on what makes a good story and what to expect as a featured storyteller, see The Moth’s Tips and Tricks here. For questions about this event, contact Scott Taylor.


Story Coaches

Ari Daniel

photo of ari daniel

Ari Daniel has always been drawn to science and the natural world. As a kid, he packed his green Wildlife Treasury box full of species cards. As a graduate student, Ari trained gray seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) for his Master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews, and helped tag wild Norwegian killer whales (Orcinus orca) for his Ph.D. at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. These days, as Senior Digital Producer for NOVA, Senior Producer for Story Collider, and an independent science reporter for outlets including public radio, Ari works with a species he’s better equipped to understand – Homo sapiens. He has reported on science topics across five continents. He is a co-recipient of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award for his radio stories on glaciers and climate change in Greenland and Iceland. In the fifth grade, Ari won the “Most Contagious Smile” award.

Instagram: @mesoplodon


Emma Young

photo of emma young at microphone

Emma Young is a biologist and former Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C. She moonlights as a Ph.D. candidate and science communicator at the University of Missouri–Saint Louis, where she studies avian malaria. Emma enjoys hoarding plants, collecting souvenir pennies, and shouting about how much she loves science. In her off-hours (what are those, again?) she is a Producer for Story Collider and an avid jigsaw-puzzler.

Twitter: @emyoung90


Storytelling Event Organizers

Dr. Scott Taylor

Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado–Boulder

photo of scott taylor

Scott Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado–Boulder and also the Director of the University of Colorado Boulder Mountain Research Station. Research in his group is focused on using natural hybrid zones and recent radiations to understand the genetic bases of traits involved in reproductive isolation, population divergence, and speciation, and the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species distributions, interactions, and evolution. They are fascinated by natural history and the intersections between art and science, and are committed to doing their part to increase diversity and make the ornithological community inclusive and supportive.

Twitter: @Dr_Scott_Taylor


Dr. Nick Mason

Assistant Professor and Curator of Birds, Louisiana State University and Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science

photo of nick mason

Nick Mason is an Assistant Professor and Curator of Birds at Louisiana State University and the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. His research group studies systematics, taxonomy, and the ecology and evolution of color, song, and migration with natural history collections as the unifying theme.

Twitter: @Nick_mas0n


Dr. Desiree Narango

Postdoctoral Researcher, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts–Amherst

photo of desiree narango

Desiree is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a 2020 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow. Her research focuses on understanding habitat relationships and trophic interactions between plants, insects, and birds in human-dominated land uses.

Twitter: @DLNarango


Emily Williams

Ph.D. Student, Biology, Georgetown University

photo of emily williams by a lake

Emily is a Ph.D. student in the Biology Department at Georgetown University. Emily’s research centers in migration ecology, with a focus on the evolutionary and ecological processes that give rise to variation in migratory behavior. Emily is passionate about outreach and the accessibility of science, and never foregoes an opportunity to get people excited about birds.

Twitter: @wayfaringwilly

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