Published Author Category RTP180

Nature is all around us, and our July presentation theme of Ecology gave a deeper look into the environment and the organisms we share it with. We were fortunate to have five regional leaders share their unique perspectives on this topic.

You may have heard of the “Internet of Things,” but have you heard about the “Internet of Animals?” Dr. Roland Kays of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State University expanded on studies being done with data received from animals tagged with GPS transmitters. With this data, researchers can learn more about animal migration paths and their community interactions. Data collected from these meaningful interactions make up the Internet of Animals. To see this tracking happen live, visit or the Animal Tracker app. Watch Dr. Roland’s talk here for more details.

Next up, Anne Neale from the US EPA shed light on what nature does behind the scenes. Our environment is proactively running important systems that keep us safe and healthy, and it all occurs without our participation (thanks nature, we owe you one!) Utilize EnviroAtlas to discover national and local data regarding our environment. Watch Anne’s talk here for more.

Up next, we learned about microscopic ecology from Dr. Chris Henry, cofounder of Gusto Global. Lately, there has been buzz around the term “gut health.” So what is all the excitement about? According to Dr. Henry, Gusto Global is working on new biopharmaceutical drugs that contribute to a healthy microbiome with nature’s help. We may even see a microbiome product aisle in stores in the future. Hear all about what Gusto Global is doing today.

Leigh-Kathryn Bonner from Bee Downtown was our next presenter. Bee Downtown has a new program called The BDT Leadership Institute that enables professionals to grow their leadership skills. This program takes lessons learned from bee communities and applies them to human professional interactions. Leigh-Kathryn encourages us to make decisions based on “getting it right rather than getting along.” To learn how bees get it right in their communities, watch her talk here.

Falyn Owens from NC Wildlife Resources Commission wrapped up the forum with excellent advice. She reminded us that nature is a part of us as much as we are a part of it. In her work as a wildlife biologist, she strives to prevent negative interactions with animals and foster positive ones. Pro tip from Falyn: If you find yourself in a situation with an animal that is potentially dangerous (or just have a question about interacting with wildlife), call The NC Wildlife Helpline to talk with a professional. Learn more tips from the pro herself by watching Falyn’s talk here.

We left RTP180: Ecology with nature knowledge, practical tips, and tools to further our own understanding of the world around us. Next month at #RTP180 we will bring in experts to chat about Artificial Intelligence. Use this link to reserve your spot now and we’ll see you on July 15 for our final virtual session. In August, the event will return as an in-person experience!