Grab a drink and learn about the natural world at Science Moab on Tap, an accessible scientific presentation held monthly at a popular Moab bar.
“There’s an incredible amount of cool science going on in Moab,” said Kristina Young, host and producer of Science Moab, a weekly interview program on KZMU Community Radio. “These talks feature scientists working in the Moab area.”
The radio show, which airs Fridays at 11:30 a.m., was founded in January 2016. Young expanded the program this year by inviting scientists to come deliver talks at World Famous Woody’s Tavern — or, on Jan. 8, at Club Rio, where Christopher Michaud, fisheries biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, will give a talk titled “Where are all the f’ing fish? Understanding and monitoring native fish in our rivers.”
Michaud will talk about the diversity of fishes in the region — sports fish as well as native species — which are often invisible to people, making it challenging to get people interested in their conservation, he said.
“I’ll touch upon endangered, native fish and ways we’re managing for their benefit, and the scientific research that’s going on to assist in managing these species,” Michaud said.
Like all the presenters, Michaud is volunteering his time to prepare and deliver the Science Moab on Tap presentation.
Young said she specifically chose people who she knew would speak about their topics with interest. Michaud, who has also been a river guide, was often referred to by his passengers as “Doctor” Michaud, for his penchant for talking about science on his trips, she said.
“This is our third Science Moab on Tap,” Young said. “It’s fun, open, casual. It’s another way to give people access to cool research that is happening here. People can come and ask whatever questions they want. We’ve had huge turnouts. It’s a great time.”
The first talk, held on Nov. 13, featured Ros McCann, who spoke about her research regarding social science and affecting people’s behavior to live more sustainably. McCann is a sustainable communities extension specialist at the Utah State University.
The November presentation drew 120 people. In December, the talk featured Natalie Day, who spoke about biological soil crust and restoration efforts. That event attracted 160 people.
“(Science Moab on Tap) is really great,” Michaud said. “It brings science to a different ball field — it makes it more accessible to folks,” who often shy away from more formal settings. “I’ve always been interested in science and ways to bring it to the people. It does no good if it’s locked up in manuscripts and journals somewhere.”
The final Science Moab on Tap will feature local scientist Sasha Reed, who will talk about new insights into the local desert ecosystems over the past 10 years. Former President Barack Obama awarded Reed with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2011.
This presentation will take place at World Famous Woody’s Tavern on Feb. 5.
At KZMU, Science Moab on Tap is a weekly half-hour program exploring current research going on around the Colorado Plateau and beyond. Young interviews different scientists about the research they’re conducting in the area, and explores how the research can help people understand a changing world. She also asks guests why they chose to pursue a career in science, and what they enjoy most about what they do.
Young has interviewed 45 scientists, covering a variety of topics, such as archaeology, paleontology, the tamarisk beetle, and restoration going on in national parks and other public lands. Scientists come from around the Colorado Plateau and different universities, as some are visiting researchers.
“We’ve covered climate change and how it will affect the Moab area,” she said.
Check out Science Moab on Tap every Friday on KZMU, or listen later on SoundCloud, iTunes and Stitcher.
While all Science Moab on Tap events are free to attend, donations are accepted.