Back in January Center Director Angela Potochnik took part in a Beginner’s Workshop from the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). NNOCCI, working across 38 different states, is committed to spreading the word about climate change and training others to do the same. This eight-hour workshop was put on by folks from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and took place at the Cincinnati Museum Center. NNOCCI describes this training as a way to “get grounded in the way Americans think about climate change and introduced to the communications tools at your disposal.” This collaboration between different Center affiliates and community partners is just one more way of connecting to the public and engaging them in climate science!
This week we are spotlighting Center Affiliate Dr. Brooke Crowley! As an Associate Professor in the Departments of Geology and Anthropology here at UC, Dr. Crowley investigates ecological interactions among living and recently extinct animals (including humans) using stable isotope biogeochemistry. Dr. Crowley also engages in various public-facing activities that connect directly to our Cincinnati community. Last Fall, she appeared in a Science Around Cincy video. Science Around Cincy, another Center partner, is a great way to connect kids (and adults!) in the area to local scientific endeavors. In that video Dr. Crowley talked about being a “chemistry detective,” studying the past and present animal life of Madagascar. Also in the Fall, Dr. Crowley was interviewed by Cincinnati Public radio about her work tracking jaguars in Belize. In addition, she took part in one of the Science and Nature talks on climate change, co-sponsored by the Center, at the Mercantile Library. Dr. Crowley has a lot of public engagement coming up as well including a presentation on bones at the EICK Global STEM Academy, a climate change talk at the semi-annual Friends of Big Bone meeting, and participating in the redesign of the Ice Age exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. To keep up with all of Dr. Crowley’s activities check out her website at http://www.agoraphotia.com/.
Thank you to Brenda Hunda, Amy Hunter, and Curtis Webb for joining the Public Engagement with Science class last week! Brenda talked with us about her work at the Cincinnati Museum Center and reminded us the importance of meeting an audience where they are and connecting to their lives. Amy talked about the founding of the Mercantile Library and its goal of providing education to people who do not otherwise have access to it. Curtis discussed activities of the Cincinnati Project, including one on women of color in Cincinnati, and another on evictions. Other topics of discussion included public access to information, reaching families rather that just individuals, and learning through play. The class was encouraged to be flexible and make sure that outreach is alway accessible to everyone. This was a great way for the students to connect with potential project partners!
On Monday the Cincinnati Museum Center welcomed the Public Engagement with Science class. Students learned about the most effective practices in informal science education. In addition, they got to try out their new knowledge by doing science demonstrations with actual museum visitors.
Brian Pollock, of the Cincinnati Museum center, explains that it is important to have a “wow” moment when connecting with children and other museum visitors. A good science communicator knows her audience and meets them where they are.
Thank you to the Cincinnati Museum Center for the opportunity to learn more about science engagement and try out some of your awesome science kits!
The Center is piloting a new graduate course at the University of Cincinnati in spring semester 2020: interdisciplinary, hands-on training in public engagement with science. NSCI/HUM 7000 Public Engagement with Science is a cross-listed Natural Science and Humanities course, in which graduate students will work in interdisciplinary teams to develop effective activities or materials to engage with the public about some aspect of science. The course will draw from expertise of staff at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and teams will develop their projects in collaboration with the Museum Center, UC Field Station, and other community organizations in Greater Cincinnati.
Masters and Doctoral students at UC: sign up now! Enrollment is limited to 20.
Center Affiliate Nate Morehouse, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, will lead an overnight Advanced Naturalist Workshop with the Cincinnati Museum Center, September 13-14. The focus will be spider behavior, a focus of the Morehouse lab. Find out more about the series here (link).