A nine-year-old girl was killing insects. A neighbor called the police on her, a prestigious university awarded her

While in Europe we consider fireflies to be a pleasant addition to summer nights, in America they have problems with lamps. It is an invasive insect originally from East Asia that can cause problems for vegetation.

So last fall, nine-year-old Bobbi Wilson armed herself with her own nozzle solution, made at home from water, dish soap and apple cider vinegar, and set out to deal with the lights outside the house (in the first version of the article, we incorrectly labeled the insects as fireflies, editor’s note), which she discovered on the surrounding trees.

However, one of the neighbors found her behavior suspicious, so he called the police. “There’s a little black girl walking around spraying something on the sidewalks and trees,” he allegedly said into the phone. This sentence then caused the extermination of insects in Caldwell, a town of not even ten thousand people in the state of New Jersey, to become a well-known case in the media.

Bobbi’s mother, Monique Joseph, was convinced that her daughter could easily have died. She cited data showing that black and Hispanic children are more likely to be shot by police than white children.

Ijeoma Opara of Yale University also noticed the case, and at the end of January she invited Bobbi, her mother and older sister to a meeting with black women who are successful in scientific fields. However, the visit also had a purely academic dimension.

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“We’re very grateful for the work you’ve done, as well as your interest in conservation and the regulation of lamprey populations,” said Lawrence Gall, curator of entomology collections at the Peabody Museum.

Bobbi among the scientists

In addition, Bobbi became one of the real scientists as the academics labeled her collection with her name, as is done with all specimens donated to the museum. “We want her to feel that we really like her at Yale,” Ijeoma Opara said.

And she added that the university doesn’t do such celebratory events, but that in Bobbi’s case, they wanted to show everyone how brave and inspiring she is.

And in the end Bobbi’s mother was also satisfied. “It happened because of an unpleasant event, but also because the entire scientific community came together and showed that Bobbi is one of them and that they will not let her lose her zeal,” said Monique Joseph, adding that in addition to thanking the university, she will , so that Bobbi continues to “live life to the fullest.”

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