As a group of environmental microbiologists, we recognize the importance of disseminating our research and knowledge to the general public. Being a member of the Penn State community has provided many opportunities to teach young people about bacteria and fungi and other microorganisms, as well as common soil properties. Because, what kid doesn’t like to get their hands a little muddy?!?


Most recently Mara volunteered for the “Ask a Scientist” booth at the Earth Day celebration in State College.

Here is Mara talking to a woman about biogeochemistry.


This was a great program to be involved with because of the breadth of disciplines that were represented. Below Mara is learning about 23 & Me and Ancestory.com from a geneticist at Penn State.


Emily and Mara also volunteered at the annual 4H Wildlife and Forestry Field day where they designed and set up their own booths. Emily’s booth was focused on soil texturing (the kids loved it!) and Mara’s booth was designed to allow the participants to make their own microbes. Below are some photos from the event. Oh yea, did I mention that Clod the clod also made a guest appearance?



Mara also participated in the Earth Day Birthday celebration at Millbrook Marsh in State College. She and three other microbiologists brought specimen and demonstrations to help provide a more interactive dialogue.