Last Saturday, Dr. Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley, came to lead a seminar titled “Frogs, Lawns, and Food.” The seminar was cosponsored by the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago and the Civic Knowledge Project. Dr. Hayes flew in for the day and gave an extra-long seminar to the 15-20 participants. CPS, the University of Chicago, and Chicago’s wastewater company were all represented, as were our local neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Woodlawn. The seminar detailed Dr. Hayes’ work with frogs, first in Africa, and then in California. His work with gender-differentiated frogs led him to discover that a chemical commonly used as a pesticide in the US was in fact an estrogen mimic, and thus acted as an endocrine-disruptor in frogs. The chemical, atrazine, is not approved for use in Europe, but 80 million tons of it are sprayed on crops across the United States every year. For more information, go to Dr. Hayes’ website.
Frogs, then, are in danger because of the chemicals we spray on our lawns and our food. The same chemicals may well be endangering humans. Despite the somber subject, Dr. Hayes’ seminar was highly informative, important, and entertaining. Look on the Graham School course offerings and on the CKP website for future seminars and continuing education courses.
Before the seminar, Nathaniel McLin interviewed Dr. Hayes for his CKP-sponsored program “Philosophizing Green with Nathaniel McLin.” The interview will soon be available on the CKP’s media page.
The CKP thanks Dr. Hayes and all those who came and participated in the event. We look forward to a fall full of more exciting events! Make sure to look on this blog and the CKP homepage for more information on our upcoming activities.