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Notes from the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes Award Ceremony

Winners of the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes

The 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes Award Ceremony went off without a hitch on Saturday, February 17, 2018 in the Austin Convention Center. Most of the prize winners, along with family and friends, attended the ceremony in the AAAS Pavilion. While guests snacked on muffins and pastries and drank some much-needed coffee, Maria Sosa, editor-in-chief of SB&F, presented the awards to the winners.

We’ve asked each of the winners to provide us with their remarks and we hope to feature them over the next few months. To start us off, we offer the remarks from Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp, authors of Beauty and the Beak.

Deborah Lee Rose Remarks

My deepest thanks to AAAS and Subaru for this cherished honor, and for all the work of AAAS and Subaru staff in bringing me to the national meeting and Family Science Days. Accepting the AAAS/Subaru prize today seems like a dream—except for the evidence-based reality that you are all here to witness it.

Growing up, I never imagined I would become a national science writer or author of children's books read around the world. I didn't know any scientists or authors and no one suggested those were careers to be pursued.

As an English major at Cornell University, I initially dreaded the required science credits—but courses like Physics for Poets and Beekeeping ultimately rewrote my future, because they were taught by faculty experts in their fields who made science immediate and even fun.

I'm not a scientific expert like my husband, Kenneth Bogen—who has shared his Science magazine subscription with me for 30 years. My work—which I love—is to capture scientists’ expertise and passion for their work, then translate and share these with the broadest public audience, especially children. AAAS CEO Rush Holt writes in his January 26th, 2018 editorial in Science magazine: “If science seems remote to nonscientists, and if scientists themselves appear remote and untrustworthy, can the public be counted on to support science into the future?”


Jane Veltkamp Remarks

From the day of Beauty's surgery to attach her new prosthetic beak, I knew one day I would tell her story to many—particularly to children—through science. I am privileged to be a scientist and a science educator. Now through this AAAS/Subaru award, my conservation message is amplified many times and for that I am grateful.

Raptor biologist Jane Veltkamp, my coauthor, is the opposite of remote. She is incredibly connecting and generous with her scientific knowledge and love of birds of prey. Creating Beauty and the Beak with her let me tell the heartbreaking and heartlifting story of an iconic animal and a real scientist at work.

Rush Holt also writes: “It comes down to good science communication—not simply choosing the right words to explain one’s research...”

Both words and images were crucial to our telling Beauty's story. Janie had the foresight to have wildlife photographer Glen Hush photograph Beauty’s beak surgery, long before I came into the picture. And with stunning, public domain images of bald eagles from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library, we were able to re-create Beauty's early years in the wild.

Just as engineering Beauty's beak was a team effort, so was creating our book. I owe many thanks today.


Jane Veltkamp Remarks

To Beauty, a special bald eagle, who lives today to teach...Thank you for your tolerance and for the opportunity to tell one eagle’s story in hopes of conserving many.

To our agent Susan Schulman—you believed in this book even when the idea was just starting to hatch, which is what makes you such an extraordinary colleague and friend.

To Brian Sockin, publisher of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group and Persnickety Press, and your staff—you hit the ground running to get this book out in record time, for the tenth anniversary of bald eagles being taken off the endangered and threatened species list. Your acumen and artistry transformed our vision into spectacular reality.

To Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff—you expanded the breadth and impact of our book with special content and attention to bald eagle conservation. As a Cornellian this has very special meaning to me, because Cornell was the first place I learned the world “ecology.”

It's also critical, because all children in the U.S. are expected to know about the bald eagle as our national symbol. Yet as I've discovered, from speaking at schools nationwide, few children know that bald eagles as a species were almost wiped out in the lower 48 states, and that scientists were the champions who reintroduced bald eagles to so many places where we can watch them today.

In memoriam, to my colleague and friend, the late Dr. Marian Diamond, world renowned UC Berkeley brain scientist and educator—you inspired me never to lose touch with the wonder of science, and to keep sharing that wonder.

Most of all to Janie Veltkamp, you answered my first call to your raptor rescue phone line, and you trusted me that Beauty and the Beak would amplify Beauty's unique story and the story of all bald eagles, as Rush Holt writes, “earning the public's trust that the whole enterprise is intended for societal good.”