Welcome to Teacup Rex!

Q: Who am I? 

A: My name is Wendy St. John, and I’m a science educator, among other things:

~ University Lecturer ~ Public Speaker ~ Evolutionary Biologist ~ Ecologist ~ Herpetologist ~ Naturalist  ~ Photographer ~ Musician ~ Writer ~ Gamer ~ Mom ~

Q: What’s a Teacup Rex?

A: It’s a reference to what I hope science will give us in the very near future – genetically engineered chickens that look like dinosaurs. I’d especially love a miniature Tyrannosaurus rex. (Hush . . . what could possibly go wrong with a tiny T. rex?).

So, my tagline is somewhat tongue-in-cheek: improving the world by creating tiny dinosaurs. (And if you have engineered a tiny dinosaur and want to call it a Teacup Rex, please let me know – I’ll sell you this domain). 😀

But the tagline is also sincere, and as a scientist, university instructor, and parent, I wholeheartedly believe that the more everyone develops a genuine understanding of science, the better our world will become. So, this is mostly a science blog, with a particular focus on science education. Although I created this blog in March, 2017, I’ve compiled a number of posts I wrote over the past several years in various venues (mostly LiveJournal, Facebook, and Tumblr). In earlier posts, I talk about my own journey as an undergraduate and graduate biology student (including an intimate look at my thesis research into western pond turtles). More recently, I’m focusing on the view from the other side of the “podium,” and what it means to be a science educator myself.

Q: What sort of public speaking do you do? 

A: I am available for community speaking engagements on topics that include the natural history of the western pond turtle, freshwater habitats and wildlife of Sonoma County, habitat restoration, conservation and reintroduction of native species, evolution and natural selection, and many other topics related to science and the environment. If you are interesting in having me come speak to your club, please use the contact form in the sidebar to send me a message.

Q: Western Pond Turtles? 

A: Western pond turtles are the only species of turtle native to this part of the world, and they were the subject of my thesis research. If you check out the “Western Pond Turtle” tag up above, you’ll find glimpses into my life as  field biologist, my involvement with a head-starting program, and loads of information about the reintroduction of turtles into Mountain Lake in the Presidio of San Francisco. Oh, and there are baby turtle photos. LOTS of baby turtles.

Q: What courses do you teach? 

A: I teach in the Biology and Environmental Studies and Planning departments at Sonoma State University. My course offerings include Conservation Biology, Restoration Ecology, Global Environmental Issues, Introduction to Biology, Biological Inquiry, Evolution and Ecology: An Integrated Perspective, A Watershed Year freshman experience, and Professional Skills.

Q: Why herpetology? (And what the heck IS herpetology)?

A: Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians, and I sort of stumbled into it. When I went back to school, my goal was to be able to do conservation work, because our planet is in a bad state due to human activities and I like to help fix it. In the course of my undergrad degree, I developed a good relationship with the man who was my graduate advisor, and he’d been doing a lot of work with western pond turtles. So, that’s what I ended up doing. It wasn’t a hard sell; TURTLES ARE AWESOME!

~ If you’d like to get in touch with me, please use the contact form in the sidebar to send a message ~