iDigBio's Jillian Goodwin and Molly Phillips traveled to St. Marks, Florida, to participate in the League of Environmental Educators (LEEF) Conference at COAST Charter School from March 18-20, 2016. LEEF membership includes non-formal and formal environmental educators from diverse backgrounds such as local, state, and federal parks; public and private schools; and non-profit organizations.
Jillian and Molly co-presented a talk entitled “Bringing biodiversity into the classroom: Digital educational resources from natural history collections.” Molly began by introducing the participants to natural history collections and the resources they contain. She also gave an explanation of why museums are digitizing their collections and what that means for educators. She ended her contribution with an iDigBio portal demonstration. Jillian then began her contribution by providing examples of how both formal and non-formal educators can use natural history collection data to inform and improve programing and curricula. She then gave a quick tour of the many other biodiversity resources available through the Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs). Jillian also introduced the citizen science initiatives WeDigBio and Notes from Nature as well as other biodiversity resources like Encyclopedia of Life. Jillian and Molly concluded with a Libraries of Life app demonstration and time for questions and answers. Surveys were passed out during presentations, and LEEF will be conducting a post-event evaluation, so feedback will be added to this report when it is received.
Jillian and Molly rounded out their experience at LEEF by participating in several other sessions, including a presentation about evaluating educational programs and another introducing the Cornell lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth educational program.