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Indybay Feature
Aussie scientist 'Biologist Ellie' using Instagram to inspire kids
by Matthew Wensveen
Tuesday Nov 2nd, 2021 11:24 PM
Social media biologist Ellie Eddy, who operates the Instagram account 'Biologist Ellie' uses the platform to educate and share science news with tens of thousands. 32-year-old Ellie, also known as Ellie-Elissa, posts colourful and engaging images to inspire a new generation of environmental advocates.
Biologist, activist and science teacher Ellie Eddy posts a range of carefully curated scientific content to her large Instagram following, hoping the move will inspire the next generation of environmental advocates.

Speaking on an Instagram Live yesterday, November 3 2021, Ellie said, "a key part of engaging people in environmental issues is to appeal to their want for entertainment ... if I can make an image attractive and include a subtle environmental message, that content might be absorbed more passively than if I was to publish a wall of text."

The biologist said her experience as a science teacher had shown her that "multi-modal learning content, delivered with differentiation (or different mechanisms of teaching) improved engagement, especially across a diverse community."

Ellie, who sometimes goes by her middle name Ellie-Elissa said much of her environmental content is actually shot at home.

Speaking on her Instagram Live, she said, "I live with my partner on seven acres in the Gold Coast hinterland and we have all sorts of animals passing by ... we have kangaroo, wallaby, koala, tawny frog mouth, micro bats, all kinds of birds, deer and a huge array of plant life. We also have a small fruit and vegetable orchard ... it is a good backdrop for sharing sustainable and environmental content online."

The biologist said she maintains her privacy by going by the monicker 'Biologist Ellie' to avoid being central to the content itself.

"I don't think I'm particularly notable and I don't think I need to be identified with all my private information online, but it is unavoidable at times," she said during the Instagram Live Q&A.

When asked about her married name, she said, "we're not married yet but we are considered defacto. I took his last name. It's what we wanted."

Ellie's last name was previously Sursara. The biologist said the coronavirus pandemic had halted any wedding plans, but that there was a silver lining: "I've got lots of time to brainstorm wedding material, and there's a lot of eco-wedding ideas on Pinterest."

When asked if her content had inspired any tangible environmental action, Ellie said there was no real tool to quantify an answer to the question. "I do receive nice messages from people who've said they've looked into the climate crisis and have chosen to do this, this and this to help reduce their impact, and I get the odd question here and there asking about plant-based food and other agricultural impacts."

Most recently, Ellie was the MC for the Taronga Conservation Society's HATCH event, where teams compete for a $50,000AUD grant to fund their eco-start up. She told viewers in the Instagram Live, "I was a program mentor and eventually the MC. It was a very cool event."

Ellie's activism is primarily published to Instagram and her website.
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