In November 2023, with the support of the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) Travel Award, the Director’s Office, and the Department of Natural History, I travelled to Washington DC to present my research at the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America.

I was excited to receive support from the FLMNH for the first time to present at this conference, which has been instrumental in my professional development as a postdoc at the Florida Museum. Although I had presented at this conference virtually before, this was my first opportunity to present in person. I found the focus on conservation and policy both refreshing and necessary. My presentation covered the impact of light pollution on insects. Additionally, I had the chance to meet other scientists researching the same topic during an NSF-RCN coordination meeting on light pollution, alongside Avalon Owens and Brett Seymour. Following the conference, we visited the Smithsonian’s insect collection, learning about its role in documenting and monitoring insects entering the US. I also connected with fellow researchers at the University of Florida, such as Basil Iannone and Jaret Daniels, and explored how their work fits into the broader range of insect conservation.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the workshop was participating in a science policy workshop. There, we learned about the ESA Science Policy Fellowship: Priorities Into Policy, which connects participants with senators’ offices and trains them in communicating ESA and current policy talking points at various levels of governance. We met with various fellows from previous years and gained insights into what it takes to translate science for policymakers and legislators’ offices.

This travel was made possible by the FLMNH travel funds and was further supported by contributions from the lab. I am grateful to the FLMNH Travel Awards Committee and the staff who coordinated the travel and logistics for our visit.