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CBS People: Mary Spivey

This educator embraces the unusual to explore the natural world.


What do you do here?
I am the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Mary Spivey

How long have you been at the U?
I joined the University in May 2008, making this nearly seven years.

Describe something interesting or unusual about your work here
The job as a whole is interesting. The people and events make it unusual. Very few positions would allow me to experience hunting for bats on a moonless night with the state bat expert, holding what can only be described as “bat meters” and waiting for their silent calls to register as clicks on our devices. I also got to hang out with some of our amazing CBS students and post-docs on a late-night insect-trapping expedition. The glow of the mercury-vapor lamp on a dark night sticks with me. The unusual happens during the day as well, but these two experiences jump to mind first!

How did you get into science education?
After earning an undergraduate degree in marine biology I set off to find a research opportunity, but in the late 1980s funds were tight and I looked for other ways to stay in the field. After a stint instructing students at a marine environmental education facility in the Florida Keys, a friend suggested I start a master’s in secondary science education at Florida State University, and the rest is history! Cedar Creek may not be the ocean, but interpreting the processes and connections that drive the natural world is similar whether one works with the ocean or the forest, and I can’t think of a more beautiful land-locked place to do this work.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Short answer: Shop farmer’s markets and the downtown food co-ops, experience new coffee shops, hang out with our two 20-something daughters, sample beer, visit museums, hike with my husband, read, cook and continue working toward ukulele proficiency.