Biology Through New Eyes

An essay by Jacob Robinson

Throughout my scholastic and professional career as a biologist, biology has given me many different things along the way. Beyond the obvious benefits it has given me like a paycheck for the last nine years and a handful of classes that didn’t bore me to tears, it has taught me a lot about myself and life.

It has made sense out of nature’s chaos and has left me dumbfounded when I had everything figured out. It has given me new perspectives on old ideas and has reinforced old beliefs on new endeavors. It has given me insight to the future (hopefully) and terrific memories of the past. Most of all it has shaped me into who I am today while never letting go of what brought me to it in the first place.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I had the pleasure of joining her sister and our brother-in-law and their two kids on their first family camping trip. Along with all the regular joys of camping like the crisp morning air, the smell of camp fires, and eggs cooked in bacon grease, I got the added pleasure of seeing biology through the eyes of a three year old.



It was a refreshing experience to be able to witness all the joys and excitement that nature has to offer for her and to be able to relive those memorizes that got me started in this field. From kicking pine cones and bouncing on downed timber with her dad to figuring out why the caterpillar has a horn and the joys of saying deer “poop” every corner turned was a new adventure.

She singlehandedly wrote the methodology for moonbear surveys and got to chase a chipmunk up a tree. She drove a truck through the woods (not literally) and helped navigate a path down to the lake. She got to see a freshly caught fish for the first time and have an awkward stare with the little boy who caught it. And most importantly she got to see the biology of nature for the first time and I got to see it all over again.

If I had to guess I would say that becoming a biologist would be a distant second to becoming Belle or Cinderella, but it makes me happy to know that she got this experience and I am so thankful that I did as well. I even got utilize some of my insight to the future by assuming the biology of a teething 11 month old in a new place might make for a sleepless night for everyone in the RV (I was in a tent by myself, tucked away on the hillside).

All in all it was a great trip and an experience that I will never forget, and am glad that I once again got to see biology through new eyes.