The Naturalist Outreach Program is associated with a Cornell course on how to do effective science outreach. If you are interested in taking this class, please read this information:
Class size is limited to 24 students. Please contact Dr. Rayor as soon as possible if you are interested in taking the class in Fall 2017.
Information specifically for Cornell students: The Cornell students who are involved in the Naturalist Outreach Program are taking a college course, Naturalist Outreach Practicum [Entom 3350, 4 credits, Fall semester, Thur 1:30 to 4:30]. Naturalist Outreach Practicum is an innovative, experiential interdisciplinary course on how to do effective scientific outreach in environmental biology. The goals of the course are 1) to train you to speak about science with passion and clarity, 2) for you to be able to teach science effectively in classrooms, science centers, and in large community outreach events, and 3) to train a generation of civically- engaged scientific outreach leaders.
Students participate in the ‘Naturalist Outreach Program’ to give STEM presentations on understanding nature to students throughout Central NY. The outreach program is well respected in the community for giving dynamic, experiential presentations on natural history, ecology, biodiversity, and behavior, often with a conservation bent. All presentations must be focused on organismal biology, and not other fields (e.g.microbiology, suborganismal topics primarily). Although many of the topics promote sustainability, the presentations can not simply be a discussion of ‘sustainability’. Nor can presentations focus primarily on domesticated farm animals or agroecosystems. (On the other hand, a topic like the problems that feral pigs cause in ecosystems is a good match.) All topics must be approved by Dr. Rayor
To get into the course: The class is limited to 24 passionate and expressive biology-oriented students who need to contact Dr. Rayor (LSR1) well before preregistration with information on their teaching and outreach background, reasons for wanting to take this experiential class, and their career goals. She will evaluate student’s write ups to determine whether they are a good match for the class and get back to them prior to preregistration. The course will be composed of undergraduate and graduate students from Entomology, Natural Resources, Animal Science, EEB, NBB. SNES, Education, and other life sciences so that the presentations themselves are diverse. Everyone accepted into the class must have enough depth in their biology background to be able to teach about a topic. This is a Writing in the Majors course, as well as a course which fulfills the oral communication distribution requirement.
Please read the following documents about expectations and scheduling presentations before you enroll in the class and then review regularly!
Expectations of students in the Naturalist Outreach course: Expectations of Students
How to schedule presentations with notes on transportation issues: Guide to Scheduling Your Presentations
Recommendations to prepare for class in the Fall:
I urge you to start thinking about various topics NOW. You will be expected to start speaking in schools by early October, which doesn’t give you much time to contemplate topics. Please write me and discuss your ideas anytime this spring or summer, so you can enter the Fall semester ready to charge on your presentation. I’m happy to brain storm with you, and you don’t need totally polished ideas when you contact me.
Everyone needs to have display materials and to make the presentations as hands on as possible. Start collecting display materials now. Even if you aren’t planning on a specific topic, don’t pass up the chance to collect that big pinecone, the skull from the woods, a cool poster, feathers, seeds, nests, diverse leaves, maps, small animals you can keep in cages, etc. I have some display materials to loan out, but expect you to come up with (a) much of your displays and (b) something new. Many of you will be teachers and this should be the start of your teaching collection.
Look at the Naturalist Outreach videos on youtube (youtube.com/naturalistoutreach). These videos are short versions of the presentations by the best students from previous classes. While somewhat different from the presentations you will give in classrooms, these will give you an idea of the approach and content ideas. I’ve got funds to make more videos for a couple more years, so come with new ideas for YOUR video.