Guest Post From APOP Library Fun Fridays Co-Chair Alexis Dzubak

Ever wonder what it’s like to be an APOP Library Fun Fridays volunteer? Check out this write up from Co-Chair Alexis Dzubak:

At APOP’s recent visit to the Columbus Metropolitan Library-Franklinton branch, I helped run the Heads Up and Who’s That Ancestor programs with some fantastic volunteers! At this event, we had mostly teenagers and younger kids, and both age groups displayed a lot of curiosity about specimens we had. For most of them, it was their first time touching real bones; while some attendees were a little nervous at first, everyone wound up touching the bones and looking inside the eye sockets and the braincase.

My favorite part of library events is the connection that you can make with students and adults of all ages and how you can relate the material to their own interests. One student attendee told me that they wanted to be an engineer so I was telling the student how bones are like buildings…adapted for their function. This student wound up being so fascinated by the hominin and animal skulls we presented that they stayed the entire time, and even told me that they might want to take anthropology classes in college! This particular student thought it was really cool that you can tell what an animal eats by its teeth.   Another student was also enthralled by teeth; this student spent time figuring out the raccoon mandible and which tooth belonged in which socket…like a puzzle fitting together!

I really look forward to volunteering at future library events and seeing the enthusiasm that our attendees always bring. You might see us at your local Columbus Metropolitan Library branch soon! Check our APOP calendar out for future events.

Thanks to Craig (Co-Chair APOP Fun Fridays), Julie M., Sarah H., Sarah N., and Nick W. for all of their help at the event!

Hello (again!) Medina Middle School!

On January 28th and 29th we were honored to visit Medina Middle School for a second year running! A huge thank you, once again, to  Mrs. Simmons and Mrs. Hollon, and their eight grade classes, for inviting us to bring our human evolution activity (and exploding skull!) into their classrooms. We also owe a huge shout out to our first time K-12 School Program volunteers, Frances Sutton, Libby Weimer, and Sarah Hinkelman, and to our repeat volunteer Kendra Weinrich, for bringing their energy and expertise to this fantastic program! As always, we would be no where without the energy and brilliance of our K-12 program leader Malorie Albee. So proud of all of our volunteers! 🙂

Guest Post from APOP Volunteer Lillie Ambrose

Ever wonder what it’s like to volunteer for APOP? Check out this guest post about COSI After Dark: True Crime from new APOP volunteer Lillie Ambrose!  

Earlier this month I participated in my first APOP event, the true crime night at COSI After Dark. As far as first experiences go, it was certainly an intimidating one. It was recorded that there were over 1000 people in attendance and many of them were funneled through our little exhibit. We set up a small mock crime scene for visitors to look at as soon as they entered the room as well as five separate stations which included: faunal remains vs. human remains, age, sex, taphonomy, and trauma. The purpose of these stations was to share with the public some of the questions a forensic anthropologist may encounter when presented with a set of remains. 

I was posted at the taphonomy station the whole night and found it to be an exhilarating experience to teach people about (1) what taphonomy is and (2) show them some cool instances of taphonomic alterations on the bones brought by the APOP team from OSU. Before the event, I had no prior experience with teaching and was nervous I wouldn’t be able to effectively communicate some of what I’ve learned in my anthro classes to others. Luckily, I was teamed up with a graduate student who was more comfortable in a teaching role and was very well spoken. One of my favorite parts about this experience was I actually learned a lot about taphonomy that I didn’t know by listening to Malorie present to the groups of people who would come up to our station. I was able to follow her lead and grew more and more comfortable as the night continued. It was heartening to see the genuine interest people expressed in what we were talking about and many of them were quick to ask a question or tried to keep the conversation going so they could learn more. 

This event pushed my capabilities and comfort zone but I am grateful to say it expanded both. APOP allows me to hone skills that I could not work on in any other organization on campus and I look forward to my continued involvement as the year progresses!

Trash or Treasure? Definitely Treasure! :)

We can’t say thank you enough to Seventh Son brewer Colin Vent, OSU Anthropology professor Dr. Nick Kawa, and OSU Knowlton Architecture School professors Dr. Forbes Lipschitz and Dr. Justin Diles for running one of the most fun and interesting explorations into repurposing waste we have ever attended! Colin talked about what Seventh Son does with their spent grains. Most of it goes to a local farm for animal feed, but some is also used in dog treats made by a local bakery! Animal feed is a good way to recycle because it means the brewers don’t have to pay to get the material hauled away, it doesn’t go to the landfill, and the farms get animal feed. One person asked if you can make paper with the spent grain and apparently you can! One neighbor is currently trying out Seventh Son’s grains for just that use. Nick discussed ways to recycle waste water. Impressively, Cbus achieved 100% reuse of its biosolids in 2017! Our city’s biosolids are made into Com-Til, a manure that is used all over Columbus to feed flower beds. Fun fact: Com-Til is used to fertilize the Oval on OSU’s campus. If you want to learn more about Com-Til, check out this link : Forbes showed us how the Privy2 garden design allows for the creation of a private nook amongst corn fed by Com-til. Lastly, Justin helped us to better understand how recycled plastics can be made into building materials. Bottles, for example, can be are melted down, shaped, and then coated in fiberglass for strength, and then used to build full scale buildings that are both light weight and eco-friendly. Privy2 (pictured here) is made of 38,000 1 liter plastic bottles!

Breakfast of Science Champions!

Thursday Nov. 14th was a big day for APOP! We hosted 29 of Ms. Lovie Mayo’s 8th graders from Johnson Park Middle School, with help from Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Suhoza. Things kicked off with an introductory forensic anthro talk from resident forensic anthropologist Alexis Dzubak. After this, students participated in activities focusing on determining human bones from non-human bones ran by Barbara Betz, taphonomy and trauma run by Leigh Oldershaw, age assessment and sex determination in human skeletal remains facilitated by Mark Hubbe, and crime scene documentation run by Angela Harden! Madee Green very kindly assisted with logistics. We also had donuts, fruit, and a make-shift lemonade bar! HUGE thanks to Johnson Park, and Ms. Mayo for making this happen!!

Thank you Metro Early College Middle School!

On Friday Nov. 1st and Monday Nov. 4th we were honored to visit Metro Early College Middle School to run our human evolution activity in Mr. Kabe Eichenauer’s 6th grade class, for a second (and third!) time! Thank you for a fabulous visit Mr. Eichenauer, and huge thank you to our exceptionally skilled volunteers Brittany Wexler, Julie Margolis, Liv Menear, Jessica Schwartz, Morgan Paskins, Nick Wilkins, and Leigh Oldershaw. A very special thank you also goes out to our K-12 School program lead Malorie Albee. If you are reading this Malorie, you are an inspiration!

Trash or Treasure Pub Talk Next Week!

Don’t forget – we have another pub talk coming up next Tuesday the 19th at 6pm. We’ll be talking about waste and what we can do to help reduce the negative impact it has on our world. Plan to meet us at Seventh Son Brewing for Trash or Treasure: Wastewater, Plastics, and Spent Brewing Grain talk! Come and learn about how you can help and enjoy some tasty 7th Son brews!🍻Hope to see you there!

COSI After Dark: True Crime!

Super proud to have been the main attraction at COSI After Dark’s True Crime event this Thursday! We ran the faunal analysis (human v. non human bones), age estimation, sex estimation, taphonomy, and trauma activities for curious guests! Really gets me in the mood to watch some serial killer documentaries 🧐 Very interesting stuff!

Fun Fridays at Dublin Library!

Last Friday we held our “Fun Fridays” event at Columbus Metro Library – Dublin Branch! We ran two activities: “Garbology” and “Who’s that Ancestor.” One little boy was in awe of the fact that Neandertals had orbits that were the same size as his little hands and we also learned something ourselves that evening. A little girl told us all about crows and how they can recognize faces and remember whether the person was “nice or mean.” There’s always something to learn from everyone around us. As always, big thanks to our volunteers! This time Leigh Oldershaw, Sarah Negron and Library program lead Alexis Dzubak were our volunteers. Another thank you goes out to Loren Scully who helped us get this set up!