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In the Trenches: Scientific Outreach from the Perspective of a Working Scientist. Andrea D. Wolfe Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology The Ohio State University. Why bother???. Kansas and all other “balanced treatment” efforts

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in the trenches scientific outreach from the perspective of a working scientist

In the Trenches: Scientific Outreach from the Perspective of a Working Scientist

Andrea D. Wolfe

Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology

The Ohio State University

why bother
Why bother???
  • Kansas and all other “balanced treatment” efforts
  • Yellowstone, Los Alamos, Southern California wildfires
  • Genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms
  • School funding, higher education, $$$ for basic research
perception of the problem
Perception of the problem
  • More than half of students in introductory course at OSU had never traveled outside Ohio
  • More than 90% believe that technology will solve all environmental problems
  • Almost half had a conflict with religion and science
  • Most think that science is beyond their ability
examples of scientific outreach for botanists academic
Examples of Scientific Outreach for Botanists - Academic
  • Teach in the non-majors biology courses
  • Sponsor undergraduate research experiences
  • Sponsor high school student research
  • Serve as a science fair judge
  • Assist in K-12 workshops through education department
scientific outreach for botanists connecting with the public
Scientific Outreach for Botanists - Connecting with the Public
  • Opportunities with children
    • Youth organizations
    • K-12 interaction
    • Volunteering with parks, zoos, etc.
  • Opportunities with adults
    • Garden clubs and plant associations
    • Tap into your hobbies
  • Using the web as a tool for outreach
scientific outreach to children
Scientific Outreach to Children
  • Boy Scouts of America (the other BSA)
    • Council level activities for Cub Scouts
      • Pow wow
    • District level activities for Cub Scouts
      • Day Camp
      • Webelos overnight campout
      • Scout Day
      • Webelos outdoor training
scientific outreach to children1
Scientific Outreach to Children
  • K-12 opportunities
    • Volunteer in the classroom
    • Volunteer for fieldtrips that involve nature
    • Develop unique opportunities
      • Digi-cam safari to South Africa
fieldwork in south africa outreach with tremont elementary school in upper arlington ohio
Fieldwork in South Africa -Outreach with Tremont Elementary School in Upper Arlington, Ohio
  • November 15 to December 15, 1999
  • Email correspondence from Compton Herbarium
  • 233 digital photos sent in 16 batches
    • Narrative about what we did, what we saw
    • Background information on biodiversity of South Africa, habitats visited
    • Overview of cultural differences and history
scientific outreach adults
Scientific Outreach - Adults
  • Garden club and other public lectures
    • “Stalking the Wild Penstemon”
    • “Parasitic Plants of South Africa”
  • Hobbies as an opportunity for outreach
    • Woodworkers of Central Ohio
    • Central Ohio Woodturners
outreach opportunities in woodworking woodturning
Outreach Opportunities in Woodworking & Woodturning
  • The botany of wood
    • Grain and figure
      • Stems and roots
      • Burls, burrs, disease
  • Sustainable logging
  • Biodiversity
  • Biomes of the world
using the web for outreach
Using the Web for Outreach
  • Taxon-specific websites
    • Especially effective for horticulturally and agriculturally important plants
  • Technique-oriented websites
    • ISSR Resource Website
  • Courses and course pages on the web
  • Web pages on research
how much time
How much time???
  • Not a big investment in the overall scale of a busy academic schedule
    • Maybe one or two weekends a year for scouts, one evening a month for committee work
    • An afternoon here and there for K-12
    • A few hours every couple of months for interaction with fellow crafters
    • An occasional evening for other efforts
    • A bit more time for web based efforts
how does it benefit us
How does it benefit us?
  • Scientific outreach is important to the university
  • We can make some contribution to improving scientific literacy
  • We are public employees - people like to know how their tax money is spent
  • It’s fun!