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142

Eleanor Sterling

OLogy Series
ologist
card
142

Eleanor Sterling

OLogy Series
ologist

Eleanor Sterling is the Director for the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. Eleanor is a scientist who works with people all over the world to help find ways to conserve nature and biodiversity. She has also spent years in Madagascar studying the aye-aye, a mysterious primate that comes out only to feed at night.

Fieldwork is Rough and Tough
Fieldwork is tough work! It's not a vacation for a scientist, that's for sure! In the field, scientists have to sleep in tents, take freezing-cold sponge baths, work in the blistering hot sun, and spend weeks -- sometimes months
-- far away from family and friends. Eleanor likes going on field expeditions and finds the whole experience very exciting. One night while she was waiting in the woods to observe the aye-aye, a glittering group of fireflies lit up the air and began circling around -- like a fireworks display! It was one of the most memorable and amazing experiences that Eleanor has ever had. Fieldwork may be rough, but sometimes scientists like Eleanor have the chance to experience wonderful moments!

When Eleanor Sterling studies animals in the wild, she always keeps a field journal. In this journal, she records:

where she is and the weather that day

detailed observations about the animals that she sees

both A and B

Are you right?

Correct!

Eleanor believes that field journals are incredibly important to her work. In her field journal, she writes about everything she sees and experiences, such as the temperature, wind conditions, animal behavior, and all daily activities.

Eleanor Sterling

Before you buy a pet, make sure it's not an endangered species. It's illegal to own endangered animals, but sometimes people in the United States buy them by mistake.

Eleanor Sterling's favorite animal, the aye-aye, has a long, bony middle finger.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The aye-aye has a super-long middle finger that it uses to find food. Eleanor once saw an aye-aye using its middle fingers to flip bugs into its mouth as though they were popcorn.

Eleanor didn't like animals until she became a scientist.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Eleanor has always loved animals. Growing up in California, she had lots of opportunities to observe animals in their natural habitats. Eleanor liked to watch sea lions.

Eleanor Sterling
Date of Birth: October 1960
Hometown: Davis, California
Position: Director of the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
Education: B.A., Yale College; M.S., Ph.D., Yale University
Known for: studying the aye-aye, and for conservation work with scientists and educators

Image credits: Eleanor Sterling; Eleanor Sterling: courtesy of AMNH.