I believe education and outreach play essential roles in sharing knowledge with the public and working toward applied solutions to environmental challenges affecting our planet. I partnered with the Bear Yuba Land Trust to lead an annual butterfly walk for the Junior Conservationist series. It’s a great opportunity to share information about my research and to connect with kids and their parents in a hands on environment.
I also volunteered with the Powerhouse Science Center in Sacramento, which is a children’s museum that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and hands-on learning. They have lots of neat activities including rotating exhibits, simulated space mission launches, and planetarium shows!
There are also number of great outreach opportunities associated with UC Davis that I was able to take part in during my time there. The Davis chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology has a great outreach program called Watch It, Don’t Squash It! (WIDSI). WIDSI volunteers (mostly grad students, but anyone can join) lead ecology/biology oriented educational activities at local elementary schools. I’ve lead a couple of activities and it is a ton of fun! There is also a EnvironMentors program at UCD that matches grad student mentors up with underrepresented high school students in the greater Sacramento area. As a grad student, I also volunteered with SLEWS (Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship), which is run by the Center for Land-based Learning and engages high school students in local restoration projects.