• This event has passed.

Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains

  • Tuesday, April 04, 2023
  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

A Conversation with the Author, Dr. Bethany Brookshire, and NCMNS Scientists Dr. Mike Cove and Dr. Roland Kays

Join us in the WRAL 3D Theater for a special conversation between Museum scientists, Dr. Mike Cove and Dr. Roland Kays, and Dr. Bethany Brookshire, author of the new book,  “Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains.” They will discuss why we deem certain animals “pests” and others not — from cats to rats, elephants to pigeons —and what this tells us about our own perceptions, beliefs and actions, as well as our place in the natural world. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but seating is limited in the WRAL 3D Theater.

Copies of “Pests” will be available for purchase and signing from Quail Ridge Books.

Join in person or watch the livestream on YouTube.

About the Book

At the intersection of science, history and narrative journalism, “Pests” is not a simple call to look closer at our urban ecosystem. It’s not a natural history of the animals we hate. Instead, this book is about us. It’s about what calling an animal a pest says about people, how we live and what we want. It’s a story about human nature, and how we categorize the animals in our midst, including bears and coyotes, sparrows and snakes. Pet or pest? In many cases, it’s entirely a question of perspective.

Dr. Bethany Brookshire’s deeply researched and entirely entertaining book will show readers what there is to venerate in vermin, and help them appreciate how these animals have clawed their way to success as we did everything we could to ensure their failure. In the process, we will learn how the pests that annoy us tell us far more about humanity than they do about the animals themselves.

About Our Guests

Bethany Brookshire, PhD, is a freelance science journalist and the author of the December 2022 book, “Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains.” She is also a host and producer on the podcast “Science for the People.” She is a former staff writer with Science News magazine and Science News for Students, a digital magazine covering the latest in scientific research for kids ages 9–14. Her freelance writing has appeared in Scientific AmericanScience News magazine, Science News ExploresThe Atlantic, the Washington PostSlate and other outlets. Dr. Brookshire has a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She was a 2019–2020 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT.

Mike Cove, PhD, is an applied conservation ecologist and mammalogist. His research approach uses traditional methods and museum collections, as well as current noninvasive survey techniques and statistical modeling procedures, to study population and community ecology both locally and internationally. His research interests are mainly focused on the conservation of mammal communities, but also mesopredator release and trophic cascades, the urban/suburban wildlife interface, species invasions, disease ecology and animal microbiomes, and human dimensions of conservation and sustainable development in the tropics.

Roland Kays, PhD, is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals. He seeks out questions that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance through educational or conservation value. He is an expert in using new technologies to study free-ranging animals, especially to track their movement with telemetry, GPS, and remote camera traps. He combines this high-tech work with traditional methods, collecting data through new field work and studies of museum collections.



April 4, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


WRAL 3D Theater

Downtown Raleigh
11 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
+ Google Map


Chris Smith