"Dr. Irene Pepperberg is seriously, the most awesome scientist in the world." Lily 3/5/11
Yesterday, Lily was able to meet her hero... Dr. Irene Pepperberg following a book talk at the library.
Ever since Lily met Harry, her beloved budgie, her plan is to be a "famous bird scientist" when she grows up. This very specific dream for her future self has allowed her exactly one personal hero... Dr. Irene Pepperberg.
Dr. Pepperberg has spent years researching and gathering data on animal intelligence primarily through her work with a really terrific African grey parrot named Alex. Her findings were groundbreaking and she was able to prove that Alex maintained the reasoning capability of a child of 4 or 5 years old child.
Imagine that... the intelligence of a kindergartener!
Then she went on to write a New York Times best seller book about it...Alex and Me, recently chosen for the city of Cincinnati's book club which brought her to town, allowing Lily the opportunity to meet her personal icon. Lily enjoyed Dr. Pepperberg's talk very much. She has watched her interviews and her work with Alex via the magic of many, many, You Tube videos. She even tried to replicate parts of her experiments... first with Harry, and then with Rosie. She said that Harry "seemed to have a hard time getting it" while little sis Rosie had some of the same bossy tendencies as Alex the parrot.
When Lily met with Dr. Pepperberg, she went completely shy, quickly handing her a fan letter card with photos of herself with Harry as well as a very cute drawing that she did of Alex. She was so nervous that she almost forgot to have her book signed... in fact, I really don't think she said one word, she just stood and smiled.
But she doesn't remember it that way at all. For Lily it was the most perfect afternoon for a junior bird girl, with high hopes to someday make it to being a "famous bird scientist."
Lily recently showed me two science-y looking photographs of brains "...look, the one on the left looks just like a human brain minus the bumps...that's a bird's brain... it really is a compliment to be called a bird brain, don't you think so?"