Staff Profile Science Museum Curator: Lyndsay Fraser
Have you ever wondered what kind of person works at a science centre? The best kind! Meet our Program Specialist and Gallery Curator, Lyndsay Fraser. She has a rich background in environmental education and is passionate about science communication, biodiversity, birds and burritos. She brings a lot of energy, big ideas and lively discussions to our Science World team.
Where are you from and how did you end up at Science World?
I’m from a small town in Ontario, Haileybury. Growing up, I spent as much time as possible playing outside. My parents were science teachers, gardeners, and just generally nature nuts, so my brother and I grew up with a deep love and respect for all things wild. As a result, I developed a passion for nature education, getting people outside and loving the natural world around us, so I’ve always worked in environmental and outdoor education. I moved to BC in pursuit of a masters degree and to gain regular access to ocean shorelines, temperate rainforests, and banana slugs. When I first moved to the coast I was living in Victoria and looking to move to Vancouver, and found myself under the dome in 2013!
What inspired you to pursue a career at our science centre?
Truthfully, it was my friend Kasia, relentlessly telling me that I would love Science World, and that I should apply. J I didn’t think I’d find the right fit for me here at first, but when I found out there were vegetable gardens and sustainability themed programs and galleries, I knew I’d find my niche. One of my favourite places to visit growing up was Science North in Sudbury. I loved and revered those ‘blue coats’, so it makes sense that my career would eventually veer into the science centre realm, I just didn’t really see it coming! I am so happy this is where I ended up – thanks Kasia!
What do you do at Science World?
I’m the curator of our environmental sustainability galleries – Our World: BMO Sustainability Gallery; The Ken Spencer Science Park; and the TD Environmental Trail. I’m also in charge of a number of sustainability programs, including our school programs that take place outdoors. Essentially, if something is happening at Science World that involves the words green, environment, or sustainability, I probably have something to do with it. However, most people know me as ‘the person in charge of the chickens’, which I’m okay with.
What is your area of expertise?
You guessed it… Environmental education! I studied Environmental Biology, and Environmental Education and Communication. I also studied fine arts in university on the side, so I’ve always had a passion for the intersection of the natural world and art as well.
I have a special fondness for the underappreciated species of the world – insects, spiders, molluscs, etc. I’m also a huge bird nerd! My favourite natural history topic is bizarre breeding behaviours. I could talk about courtship displays of the animal kingdom for hours on end.
What do you love most about Science World?/What is your favorite Science World story or moment?
I love our team here – my colleagues are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working so closely with! I’m always learning something new from them. We’re always getting into some wild new projects, and end up collaborating with really talented and remarkable people. Plus we also have a lot of laughs along the way.
One of my favourite Science World moments revolved around completing my first major tasks as the Science Park curator position – finding us a new chicken! I picked her up on Vancouver Island, we bonded on the ferry ride over. My preferred ferry sailing was full, so I was arriving with her long after the building had closed for the day - what would I do if I couldn’t get her into the park that night? Luckily I made it in time to tuck her into to her forever home for the night. The next day I got to introduce her to a very excited facilitator team and our visitors, who were just so thrilled to have her there. We didn’t want to stress her out on her first days, so while meeting her, everyone made sure to talk in quiet calming voices as they welcomed her to the park. We had a highly competitive naming competition for her too! It was so sweet, and really fun to be a part of.
What is your favorite science fact?
My favourite science fact is that in a number of anglerfish species, the tiny males become permanently attached to the body of a comparatively gigantic female! When a male finds a female, they bite into her, and their bodies eventually fuse together. Some females are seen with multiple fused males attached to them! It’s hard to find a mate in the deep dark ocean, so this is their way of ensuring their genes are passed on. That’s a pretty extreme reproductive strategy! The biological world is weird, wild, and wonderful.