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The National Park Service in partnership with the Dunes Learning Center is offering a series of educator workshops, "Nurturing Young Scientists," July 18 - 22, at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The workshops are designed to introduce both formal and non-formal educators to resource issues, current research, and citizen science projects they can use with their students both in and out of the classroom. Educators can participate for a day or two or the entire week. Each day will feature a different scientist, include field work and citizen science activities. Opportunities to utilize the National Geographic Society's "FieldScope" mapping, analysis, and collaboration tool will be woven into each day. The workshops are held at the Douglas Center for Environmental Education located at 20 N. Lake Street, in Gary, IN, and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
To kick off the week, join Dr. Ellen Szarleta, professor at Indiana University Northwest's (IUN)School of Public and Environmental Affairs on Monday, July 18, for "Teaching and Learning through Community Engagement." Participants will explore powerful service-learning opportunities including community garden projects and a newly developed IUN project gathering scientific data that could lead to new information about air pollution. Participants will also learn about National Geographic FieldScope, a web-based mapping, analysis, and collaboration tool designed to support investigations and engage students as citizen scientists investigating real-world issues.
On Tuesday July 19, wade into"Aquatic Ecosystems." Seine for fish with NPS Environmental Protection Specialist Charles Morris as he explains his research on near-shore fish assemblages along the Southern Lake Michigan Shoreline. Learn how water quality impacts aquatic life and try your hand at the Hoosier Riverwatch citizen science project with Riverwatch trainer Joe Exl.
Help U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Noel Pavlovic collect data on invasive oriental bittersweet during the "Invasive Species Workshop" on Wednesday, July 20. Learn about the impacts of invasive plants on local ecosystems, become a citizen scientist investigating hybrid cattails, and learn how students, and lifelong learners, can contribute to the New Invaders Watch Program.
"Butterflies and Oak Savannas" are the topic of the day on Thursday, July 21. Join John Drake, Restoration Coordinator with The Nature Conservancy, in an exploration of local oak savannas. Discover how they are supporting new populations of endangered Karner blue butterflies. Then, accompany Monarch Larva Monitoring Trainer Ann Richardson in an introduction to live monarch eggs, caterpillars and adult butterflies as well as their interesting life cycle, habitat needs and annual migration. Learn how to participate in current monarch research projects.
Friday, July 22, culminates the week-long series with an exploration of "Climate Change Impacts." U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Ralph Grundel shares information on his research regarding the impacts of climate change on insects including Karner blue butterflies and bees. Learn how your students can contribute to two citizen science plant and pollinator phenology projects.
There is a $10 registration fee for each day. Pre-registration is required by July 11, and registration is limited. To register, call the Dunes Learning Center at 219-395-9555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a registration packet and reserve a spot.
Participants can earn up to 3 hours of graduate credit through Indiana University Northwest or Chicago State University (CSU), for an extra cost and with some extra lesson plan work. Register directly with IUN on their website, www.iun.edu or call 219-980-6514 for more information. Register for CSU credit by contacting Mike Siola at 773-995-2964. Teachers can receive CEUs for participating.
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 394 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than two million visitors come to this national park each year.
For additional information, contact the Great Lakes Research and Education Center Education Coordinator Wendy Smith at 219-395-1987.