Science and Perspective.


May 2016

A Lifetime of memories


It has been almost 13 years since we met and I fell in love with you. I just want to share with you some of the memories that I have made with you and hold on to always. I love you, now and forever. Happy Birthday!

1: Meeting the love of my life in a motel.
That night, when Dr. Wiley brought you to the Pokomoke Inn to pick up Gina and I first saw you, you took my heart. I will never forget that day and I hope you never do either. Of course, you were a beautiful sight for my eyes, but over the years, I have gotten to know you as being beautiful through and through.

2: Oh deer.
While we were at University of Maryland Eastern Shore we went a few times to Chincoteague and Assateague. The sitka deer down there and the little trees that had been stunted in their growth made a great place for adventure. I remember smiling up at you as you climbed a tree and looking at you as you tried to convince one of the deer to let you pet it. i will never forget the twinkle in your eyes.

3: That Jelly
The time you came to visit the Bahamas and we would go to the beach every chance we got, until you were all sunburned, those were some of the best times ever. I know it was not too much fun for you and I was super stressed, but Unfortunately, you got one of the worst jellyfish stings I have seen and you did a mighty good job of not cussing because the children on the beach were in earshot. It is amazing how tough you are and I have learned over time that you are an amazingly powerful woman, even more powerful than I could have imagined.

4: Disney!
You took me to Disney World for the first time! and it was magical! Riding roller coasters and visiting the animal kingdom with you was amazing and I can’t wait to take #LeonardoDavis one day as a family. Thank you so much.

5: Science
Since I have known you I have seen you pick up and learn so many new skills, it is amazing, from micropropagation in the lab, to hostess, to bird watcher, to SCUBA diver and Conch researcher, to snake catcher, to zookeeper. I feel there is nothing you cannot do and I cannot wait to see you tackle your next challenge, whatever it is.

6: It’s spooky how much I love you.
Halloween with you is always the most fun, whatever we do or whatever we dress up as. one of my favorites was when you were dressed as the creepy girl and you were holding the teddy bear on the corner on Bay Street and the girl driving by screamed, HAHA! good times.

7: Friends of friends
Over time I have come to know just how much of a tight knit group you and your friends are. I see how well you choose your friends and how much you love them and I do now too. I know that those folks you have by your side love you immensely and you chose me to be one of them. thank you. and thank you for sharing your friends with me and giving my friends the chance to get to know you as well.

8: A Family Affair
Our families are like Apples and Oranges, but one thing I can always count on you for, is dedication to family. You make sure that we stick together and communicate. You help to remind me of what matters when I get lost in work or school or stressed. I love you more and more for this each day.

9: Forever
You are intelligent, beautiful, funny, clever, artistic, kind, strong and tough when you need it. When we got married and made our vows to have and to hold, love and cherish one another forever, I was honored and blessed beyond measure. Thank you for making me the luckiest man in the world on 2016/10/26.

10: #LeonardoDavis
Of course, over the years we have given one another countless gifts great and small, but this year, you gave me the greatest gift ever. Leo is a great mix of the two of us and I know that this is the greatest gift we could ever share. As you celebrate your first birthday as a mother, I want you to know that we love you and we are excited to share many more birthdays with you.


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Home again, home again, jiggety jig

It seems like forever since I have been home to the Bahamas. I am waiting in the Miami International Airport for our flight to new providence and then San Salvador, with 28 students, I am looking forward to it like I have not looked forward to anything else, since #LeonardoDavis’s birth.

I miss home immensely. Over the past few month’s issues related to my dissertation, scholarship, research progress etc, have had me a bit stressed out. But today I got word on a new funding stream, I am about to visit two of my favorite places, I am envisioning my dissertation work with much greater clarity and Leo and Alma are safe. I am likely going to have my hands on a vitamalt and a hot patty in about 2 hours. Life is good.
I feel at peace. I feel centered. I feel like I am going home again in more ways than one. My wish for you all today is that you get to go home.

Molasses reef: May 24th 2016

Today, we went to Molasses Reef with Ocean Divers in Key Largo, Fla. Our crew were Lou and Michelle on the green boat.We did two dives, about an hour each, but the second had some pretty stiff current. The first was at Eagle ray alley and the second was at Coral Canyon.

It has certainly been awhile, but it is amazing how much like riding a bike it is. Donna, Hays, Scott, Jack, Hank and I SCUBA dived and everyone else snorkeled.

The best part is seeing all the fish and coral and algae again and having so many of them pop right back into my head. the only thing missing was Leonardo and Alma. I cannot wait to get #LeonardoDavis into the Ocean.

here is the list of what I can remember right now.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Nurse Shark; Caribbean Reef Shark

Coney; Graysby; hamlet


Parrotfish: Stoplight, Midnight, Princess, Striped, Red band

Gobies: Sharknosed, Bridled,

Giant pufferfish, sharpnosed pufferfish, honeycomb cowfish, Whitespotted filefish;

Spiny lobster; pederson shrimp

Montastrea cavernosa, Diploria strigosa, Meandrina meandrites, Agaricia agaricites, Porites astreoides (I know some names have changed.

Moray eel

Damselfish: Bicolor, yellowtail, coco/beaugregory,

Sergeant Major, Night Sergeant (lots of nests)

Bermuda Chub,

Yellowtail snapper, mahogany snapper, lane snapper,

smallmouth grunt, french grunt, Cesar grunt, sailor’s choice, porgy, french angelfish, queen angelfish, FrenchQueen Angelfish, small mollusks mating (hays got a photo).

Hogfish and spanish hogfish.







If you have ever heard me speak of my time on the Kirtland’s Warbler Research and Training Program, you would know how much it meant for me as a scientist and how it has changed my life. Long story short, if it wasn’t for the Kirtland’s Warbler Research and Training Program, Alma and I would not have had #LeonardoDavis. So this past week in Ohio for Saving Birds Thru Habitat’s trip to Magee marsh with Ronald Brown Academy students, Dave Ewert and I reconnected. Leonardo seemed pretty impressed as well. Dave still continues to do lots of different things, but for myself and the students that went through the program, I think it’s safe to say he will always hold a special place for us.

Great to see you Dave!


Dave Ewert meets Leo
Dave Ewert meets Leonardo

Happy Birthday Miggety

When I was in high school, my brother came back from abroad with a shot up leg and a poopy little baby by the name of Jamie Kiamo Lestley Davis. I remember helping to take care of her in those early years while Jamison would bust his hump at work. I remember when she would come home crying about the kids in school teasing her and teaching her the verbal kung fu of dissing defense. Unfortunately, Jamie is not as hard core as Naya, but she had a different skill set. Jamie was everyone’s friend. Eventually, she did not have to worry about being picked on because she was always surrounded by a posse.

Then she went stateside. Yeah we missed he a little, but she did her thing, making more friends and eventually coming back to the Bahamas. the school system putting her back in both transitions sucked, but that got her lined up to make even more friends Rashad and to bond with her cousins like Christian and Cierra.

It has been fun to watch you grow up from baby Jamie to Kiamo to the Miggety we now know and love. I stole a bunch of your most embarrassing Facebook photos and some of the sweetest and made this slideshow for you. I just want you to remember that no matter what, between your crazy daddy and uncles, your Aunt Nikki, The Jamies, Mommy and Kito Mommy, Kenyon, Kevin and all your other family and friends, you always have a posse, we always have your back and we will always love you.
Happy Birthday J. “Migetty” Kiamo Davis.

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Leaders are special people.
During a recent interview I was asked what I thought made someone a good leader and to think of the best boss I have had and what made that person a great boss.

The first to come to mind was Eleanor Garraway-Phillips, of course. In my short time (4 years?) at The Nature Conservancy, I got to see her take the tough stance on several issues and stand up for her employees in the face of government and political will. Not only is Eleanor well able to keep her cool under pressure, but she is one of the most sincerely passionate earth warriors I know. Most importantly, she would get to know her employees and support our personal as well as career goals. Throughout my time with TNC she also helped to encourage me to see balance and take time with family when I could. Though I feel she was sad to see me go, “E” was especially supportive of my decision to return to school for my PhD. Thank you E.

Earth Day planting at the Hub Art Gallery on New Providence 2011
Earth Day planting at the Hub Art Gallery on New Providence 2011

Now I am at Miami University and while the University has its issues with diversity, there are pockets where anyone can feel included, like the Center for American and World Cultures. Here, I get to work with Dr. Mary Jane Berman and Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, two amazing women with an unbelievable amount of energy. The center does an incredible amount of work, but these two ladies are especially great at recognizing the work of everyone involved. From undergraduate and graduate student workers to community members who publicize their events, they always give credit where credit is due. I think this is especially important.
Thank you Jacque and Mary Jane!
Mary Jane and Jacque

You ladies are all super awesome and one day I hope to be able to follow your example!


Think about ants. They cannot see the soaring birds, why would they need to? Their lives consist of the path in front of them, following the scent trail of their fellow ants. Yes, occasionally one of them will get distracted and venture off on a solo adventure. Mostly though, their perception limits their world.

Look around you. Think about the people who go through their lives following the paths of their parents, older brothers and sisters, this graduating class just like last year’s graduating class. Think about the people who are trapped in the same organization or the same job for years and decades. Think about the way they told you there was no success outside of their realm of perception. Think about the ants and soar.

Happy Mother’s Day Alma

My carbon footprint and compromise

This week I drove from Ohio to Washington DC and oxford to CVG twice. Now I am sitting on an airplane going to Denver Colorado for an interview. My conservation colleagues (some of them) are going to ask. What is your carbon footprint "Captain Planet"? (Yes, I have friends that call me that).

This week, my carbon footprint is huge. And I have to think, how do I get to the point where I make a decision that impacts the planet negatively? Compromise. We all have goals. We all have personal restraints…except that one guy and nobody wants to be that one guy. Eventually they will be at odds.
So yes, I want to protect the planet and make it a better place. Especially for this guy, #LeonardoDavis.

But in order to do that, I have to also learn and grow and see enough of the world to know how I can help and enough of its beauty to want to help it. I am doing pretty well so far. Education and jobs will not come to you. Life isn’t delivered and sometimes you just have to hang on as life drags you around the world flapping in its exhaust like a five dollar flag on Independence Day. Sometimes life is messy and you have no choice but to spend the money, use the fuel and throw away resources.

So you compromise. But this is how I compromise. I draw a line on where I will not compromise. You can make a huge difference in premeditated compromise. For example, if travel is necessary and paid for, drive instead of taking a taxi. If you can, this is usually less expensive and you cut out the two return trips the taxi would make. The reimbursement is usually also better for you. Tell the people inviting you about this and your reasoning if asked. It may help change their minds as well.

Another good one is telling the truth when needed. Coworkers, friends and family know me for this. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Of course, it does make things difficult when feelings get hurt, but in the long run everyone comes out better for it.

So, yeah, I kind of rambled today, but sorry for the carbon. And I will make it up later.

Ancilleno Davis, M.Sc.

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