In early January Moab’s popular locals’ bar was packed full with an attentive audience. The stage, typically hosting musicians and karaoke singers during Moab’s tourist season, supported Native fish biologist Chris Michaud while he educated the crowd about suckerfish conservation. Science on Tap is a seasonal educational event that features different guest scientists each winter month and is in its first season. The unique bar night has evolved from KZMU’s radio program Science Moab, produced and hosted by Kristina Young. Young, who’s finishing her doctorate degree in ecology from the University of Texas, said she chose to create the event and isolate it to the winter season because she thought it was “important for the town of Moab” and to be available specifically to “the people who are living here.”
“I was just trying to find out if people would be into it,” said Young when discussing how she came up with the vision after the radio show’s second successful year. Clearly, people were “into it” as the Jan. 8 event drew so many guests that bicycles were overflowing from the rack outside with nowhere to park.
Unwitting bar-goers were surprised and confused upon entering the establishment during a cold winter weeknight when typically, few people are out. Local archaeologist Allison Aakre said, “Michaud gave a really entertaining and informative presentation that sparked a lot of great questions from the audience. It’s also really refreshing to learn about scientific topics outside of a stuffy conference room.” Lingering guests also received Utah native fish posters.
“It’s been so fun to have so many people come,” Young said. Some guests remarked on the bigger turnout and the spaciousness of the venue change. Previously, Science on Tap took place at Woody’s Tavern which is currently closed for remodeling. Others had remarked that the event may have still been gaining momentum at Woody’s, but that they would attend it again at either venue.
Young said her plans after finishing her doctorate degree are to continue science endeavors in Moab. For Science on Tap she said her goals are to “strive to make it accessible, relatable, and most importantly, fun.” Next month’s event on Feb. 5 will host Sasha Reed and new findings in desert ecology. Previous nights hosted Ros Brain McCann on sustainable habits and Natalie Day on biological soil crust.