Thursday, March 8, 2012

This Saturday - My One and Only Vole!

Don't forget we're meeting a week early this month! Saturday March 10. I hope to see you there! We're working on setting up a live vole-cam in the lab! Here's what the program is about:


Vole pups! I borrowed this photo from a Mother Nature
Network article, 11 Animals that Mate For Life.
Zoology student Tomica Blocker will share the science of "voles in love" in a program for children Saturday at the Stillwater Public Library.

Blocker, a master's student in zoology at Oklahoma State University, will present "My One and Only Vole" at Monty Harper's "Born to Do Science." "Born to Do Science" is a monthly program that gives students a chance to meet scientists and learn about their research. The series is hosted by Monty Harper, a local children's musician who composes a song for each program inspired by his guest scientist's work.

Three brother voles moved nesting material
one mouthful at a time from one end of
their tub to the other while I interviewed
Tomica about her research.
"Prairie voles are a fascinating species to study," said Harper. "It's a rare mammal that sticks with a single mate for life. It's even rarer to find a mammal species where mothers and fathers both care for their young. That's why certain types of prairie voles are useful model species for investigating human behavior and physiology; they are rodents with family values. We can learn a lot about ourselves by studying these cute little monogamous mammals."

The presentation will include hands-on activities for the participants. "This one will be a lot of fun," said Harper. "We'll have kids up acting out vole social recognition using olfactory cues, analyzing vole behaviors in videos from the lab, and even designing their own vole research!"

One of the voles gets a sunflower seed treat.
"Born to Do Science" is free and open to students in at least third grade. Parents are encouraged to attend, participate, and learn along with their children. It will begin at 10:00 a.m. in Room 119 of the library. Registration is requested at (405) 377-3633 or

For more information about "Born to Do Science" or to listen to podcast interviews with past guest scientists, visit Stillwater Public Library is at 1107 S. Duck St.