When conducting fieldwork, Black scientists have to not only think about the science but also what others who encounter them might think, the Associated Press reports.
For instance, Bucknell University's Tanisha Williams, a botanist, tells the AP that she would be quizzed by strangers when working in public parks and now brings field guides and other books with her to try "to look like a scientist." The University of Washington's Christopher Schell, an ecologist, similarly tells the AP that he deliberately wears "the nerdiest glasses I have and often a jacket that has my college logo" when installing wildlife cameras in Seattle and other cities.
At the same time, environmental researchers tell the AP that a lack of diversity among who is conducting research influences what questions are asked and what data is collected, and that, in turn, could affect policy and wildlife management plans. "Who you are affects the questions you ask and the type of data that's being collected," Schell tells the AP. "We cannot understand how our natural world interacts with our cities without understanding the problems and legacy of racism."