I just got back the other day from a trip to the Western slope of Colorado, where I engaged in two outreach activities with children. I presented in Telluride,CO on July 2nd and Ridgway, CO on July 3rd. The events were organized by the Pinhead Institute in Telluride, which organizes a wide variety of science workshops, activities, and courses for local children from a range of age groups.
The events centered around the biochemistry of flower color. We discussed the importance of flower color for attracting pollinators, performed a demonstration of color change in an anthocyanin solution (extracted from red cabbage) using acids and bases, and provided an interactive activity where kids got to change the color of the anthocyanin solution themselves by lowering the pH with CO2 (blown into the solution with a straw!).
This was a very fun opportunity to travel to the Western slope and interact with people on the other side of the state (and of course to check out the scenery and the local plant and animal life too!). The children who participated were very enthusiastic and I hope that they learned something memorable about flower color and biochemistry. I’m looking forward to visiting again in the not-too-distant future!
Pictures from the outreach events
Posters for the events that were hung up aroud the area
Preparing for the demo at the Telluride public library
Children watching as I talk about flower color and prepare for a demo
Children participating in the interactive activity in Telluride
Children watching as I talk about flower color chemistry in Ridgway
Nature photos from the trip
A field of penstemons near Placerville, CO (two species growing together)
The beautiful mountains above Telluride
A mountain lake near the Sneffels range outside of Ridgway
Thousands of wild onions (Allium acuminatum) at Black Canyon of the Gunnision NP
Visitor to a penstemon at Black Canyon of the Gunnision NP
Pink prickly pear flower and yellow stonecrop at Black Canyon of the Gunnision NP