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Howard Romack is - and has been - The Backyard Scientist for years - both in and out of the classroom. He has inspired, and motivated, hundreds of kids in his middle school science classes and has enjoyed swapping stories and environmental experiences with them. His classrooms have gone beyond the traditional school classroom walls and have taken students, community members, friends, and colleagues on many exciting trips to the outdoors - to the streams, to the mountains in Costa Rica, to his own "backyard." Being an avid collector of bugs (an entomologist) he has collected insects in Africa, South America, and throughout the United States, many of which have been displayed in schools and county fairs and have been donated to museums. His home "houses" thousands of insect specimens which he gleefully shows to any interested onlooker (in addition to the snakes and his former house-mate, a 300 pound snapping turtle). As he says, "Fortunately, I was encouraged to spend time (long before computers and video games) learning about the mysteries and wonders of the natural world which has helped me to pass on such information to others." And pass on he does... This book is a culmination of his experiences and knowledge of the outdoors - and his true passion on making everyone's backyard an enjoyable experience. Howard is the author and contributor to many scientific publications and popular articles. He has degrees from Cornell University and New York University in the fields of zoology and education. He has given hundreds of outdoor education presentations to area schools, universities and community organizations and has organized week-long summer science programs for several area schools.
Although a zoology minor in college, Kathy Pike's prime focus throughout her professional life has been literacy. She attended the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, and SUNY Albany, earning degrees in education and reading. Her educational experiences range from classroom teacher, reading specialist, university professor, school administrator, and educational consultant. As an educator, she has provided numerous presentations on all aspects of literacy and science education, locally, nationally, and internationally. She organized and guided several trips for teachers to New Zealand to get an "up-close and personal" look at this country's exemplary literacy programs. She has also co-authored a number of professional books to assist teachers in making reading and writing come "alive" in the classroom. Among her books are: Books Don't Have to Be Flat; Quick Quilts Across the Curriculum; 25 Super Social Studies Projects; and Making Non-fiction and Other Informational Texts Come Alive, among others. While living abroad recently in Berlin, Germany, she helped set up a family library at the U.S. Embassy, an accomplishment of which she is very proud. One of her guiding principles has been the oft-cited quote by Dr. Seuss, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Now the place she is going to is "your backyard." She and The Backyard Scientist have been friends and colleagues for years and have enjoyed collaborating on this book to make science come alive for families and teachers.