Sharing wild food : A week with Olivia Sylvester

Last week (10th of August) RealScientists twitter account was handed over to the fantastic ethnobotany researcher Olivia Sylvester. You can read more about Olivia’s background and current work in our intro post.

During her week on @RealScientists Olivia showed us some great insights into wild food, #womeninscience and life as a field researcher. You can catch up on all of Olivia’s tweets at this link, and you can see a collection of all her amazing photos here.

Finally, I’ll leave it to Olivia to sum up her week in our post-curation Q&A. If you enjoyed her tweets last week then please go follower her at @farmsforests

How did you find your week as a curator?

It was a great week. The RS followers are a supportive and engaged crowd that kept me on my toes with numerous excellent questions. It was exciting to see people making the important connections among social and natural sciences that are central to my field.

It can be a shock talking to 12,000. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

My first day tweeting was definately a change of pace from my prior twitter experiences. I’m glad my first day was on a Sunday so I had the time and mental energy to adjust. The increased engagement was overall very positive. It felt great to have so many people interested in the work I’ve dedicate a large part of my life to.

Were there any lowlights?

One day there was a disrespectful, gender-related tweet; but, overall the experience was very positive!

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?

I planned to talk about common misconceptions about ethnobotany; althought I didn’t specifically address this theme, it came out in a few interesting discussions which was a welcome surprise!

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

My advice is to remember that even the most obvious details about your work might be new to others; so, don’t be afraid to share what you do. And, remember with so many followers at RS you can get a lot of questions; so, rest up to avoid tweeting burn out!

Other than yourself of course, are there any other people/accounts that people should follow if they liked you and what you covered?

The ethnobotany community on twitter is very small; here are few people to watch out for: @salalberrywoman, @NCSUethnobotany, @kirbykatO. And, I encourage other ethnobotanists to join!

What TV show do you think everyone should go watch right now?

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown


About Matthew (@MCeeP)

I have worked in science now for about 8 years since graduating from Lancaster University. The first 4.5 years of my career were spent at a little company called Mediwatch Biomedical helping to develop a prostate cancer test. It was while working at Mediwatch that I published my first paper and my first patent! Following mediwatch I spent an very enjoyable half a year working as a consultant for a small research company (Leksing) and a very talented artist called Jane Edden who was working on a project with Kew Gardens and their Economic Botany collection. The remaining 3 years have been spent working on my PhD at Cranfield University (which I have now finished) where I developed a range of novel fibre optic based sensors under the supervision of the Department of Engineering Photonics."

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