SCI Staff Spotlight: Meet Rhiley Binns

SCI Staff Spotlight: Meet Rhiley Binns

For SCI Programs Presenter Rhiley Binns, science education encompasses a variety of interests — and unusual audiences. From space enthusiasts and SCI visitors to reptiles and red pandas, Binns’ career has provided an array of interactions at every turn.

After graduating from Central College with a degree in biology, Binns joined the SCI staff as a summer camp iEARTH educator. She introduced campers to Iowa’s natural habitats, waterways and native animals, championing conservation through canoe rides, hikes and hands-on activities.

“There are amazing natural spaces in the Des Moines metro, and I loved spending every day outside exploring with campers,” Binns said.

Her audience changed considerably that fall when she started a new role as the small mammal keeper at the Blank Park Zoo. Binns worked with red pandas, primates and more. Interacting with a diverse array of animals kept her busy, but there’s one audience she missed in particular.

“I missed interacting with the public and teaching people about science,” Binns said.

Today, she’s back at SCI full-time as a programs presenter, and she gets to work with Iowa’s native animals while sharing her passion for biology, conservation and science. Binns leads live programs like Cold-Blooded Critters, Zap! and more, as well as educating visitors about natural objects at theCollectors’ Cornermini-exhibit.

Binns’ passion for science education still takes her outside at monthly Star Parties at Ewing Park and at SCI. Her new role as SCI’s astronomy expert keeps her in tune with what’s going on in the solar system.

“I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was a child, so I love sharing what’s happening in the night skies with visitors and showing them how telescopes work,” she said. “It’s amazing when you see someone come to their first Star Party and experience the solar system in a new way.”