March Madness – Outreach Edition

March 21, 2019 Posted by: Samantha Wynns
March has been a busy month for Cabrillo National Monument’s outreach team. We’ve been out-and-about, participating in community events around town – perhaps you’ve seen us as we’ve set up tables, lead talks, and facilitated learning with fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

The beginning of the month ushered in our largest off-site event of the year – the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering. This week-long celebration of all things science and engineering kicked off with the EXPO Day at Petco Park, a free public event that saw over 17,000 attendees! All hands were on-deck for this one, and the team engaged the public non-stop for the entire day. This year we focused on the science the Natural Resources, Management, and Science branch of Cabrillo National Monument by highlighting our native plants, their important pollinators, and other insects that help the local environment. Participants got to pretend they were an ant and find their way home with the “Insect Invaders” activity; this exercise uses essential oils to simulate the unique pheromone trail that different ant species leave for their fellow colonists. Festival attendees were also able to view, touch, and smell some of the native plants of Cabrillo National Monument, drawing connections between these plants and the animals that pollinate them. 

The science education and outreach team poses at their booth during the Science and Engineering Festival, complete with live plants, activities, and promotional materials.NPS Photo – McKenna Pace: The science education and community outreach team ready to engage participants at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

That same weekend Community Outreach Coordinator Samantha Wynns and Science Explorer’s Club Volunteer Alida Ramganesh attended the San Diego Audubon Society’s San Diego Bird Festival, where they taught children (and some adults) about different adaptations for birds. Each participant got to build their own bird at the end, and some of the kids were extremely innovative with their creations – a two-headed bird? Why not! 

Volunteer Alida stands smiling behind a table that displays the Build-a-Bird activity and promotional materials. NPS photo – Samantha Wynns: Volunteer Alida excited to build some birds with fellow bird nerds.

Comic Fest, a local comic book convention, provided an opportunity for Samantha Wynns to speak on a panel with her community partner, Little Fish Comic Book Studio, about the free public program she runs called Conservation + Comics. Engaging fellow comic enthusiasts about comic books as a platform for science communication was an excellent opportunity to enhance community and an all-around fun time.

A photograph of Alonso Nunez, owner of the non-profit Little Fish Comic Book Studio. Alonso Nunez, owner of the non-profit Little Fish Comic Book Studio.

A flier for the program, Conservation + Comics. The title of the flier is big and bolded on a black and white polka-dotted background. A paragraph describes the program with the contact information for the program director, Samantha Wynns, at the bottom.NPS photo – A flier for the free public program, Conservation + Comics.

St. Patrick’s Day heralded another celebration of science, this time in the form of the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. Family Day at the fair afforded proud family members and friends a view of the participants’ science and engineering entries. Open to the public, Cabrillo National Monument showcased some of the science and engineering they do at the park with an activity about biodiversity monitoring in the Rocky Intertidal Zone. Participants were able to see and touch 3D-printed versions of species found in the tidepools and learned how they could print these biomodels on their own!

Scientist Samantha Wynns stands behind her table of 3D-printed tidepool creatures and a tidepool monitoring activity, ready to engage students.NPS photo – Andrew Rosales: Community Outreach coordinator Samantha Wynns can’t wait to talk about tidepools at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

Even though March is coming to an end, the outreach madness is just beginning! You may recall science educator Andrew Rosales speaking on citizen science in his field note from December. Well, Cabrillo National Monument will be participating in a massive citizen science project – a 24-hour BioBlitz! In conjunction with the City Nature Challenge, Cabrillo is joining all of San Diego County in this competition to see which city worldwide will be able to catalogue the most biodiversity in a given amount of time. It’s a scavenger hunt that’s not only fun, but also helps scientists collect real data that they will use for their research! The monument’s portion of the BioBlitz takes place from 5:00pm, April 26th to 5:00pm, April 27th. If you’d like to participate, volunteer to help, or if you have any questions, contact event coordinator Samantha Wynns at: e-mail us

A flier for the upcoming City Nature Challenge Bioblitz at Cabrillo National Monument, held 5:00 pm, April 26th – 5:00 pm, April 27th.NPS photo – Information for the upcoming City Nature Challenge BioBlitz at Cabrillo National Monument. RSVP today!

Whether you see us at a fair, in a convention, at a festival, or at the Monument please be sure to stop by and say hi to the community outreach team – we want to know how our national parks impact you, and how we can better serve you, our community! 

For outreach volunteer opportunities, contact Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Gossard at: e-mail us

San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, Audubon Society of San Diego, San Diego Bird Festival, Comic Fest, Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, City Nature Challenge, Little Fish Comic Book Studio, Science Explorer’s Club, EXPO Day, Bioblitz, Outreach, volunteer, Petco Park

Last updated: March 21, 2019

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