One of Chris’s main passions is teaching and she feels she is lucky to be able to do environmental education related to citizen science through her position at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She works with thousands of Museum visitors each year, ranging from three years old to retirees. Most of her educational programs are offered outdoors at the NCMNS at Prairie Ridge Ecostation and take on several different formats depending on the audience.
Public Educational Programs
The majority of Chris’s educational offerings are free and open to the public. Nearly all of them include a blend of natural history education with hands on citizen science project training. She oversees a series of weekly citizen science walks for the NCMNS at Prairie Ridge, developing the curriculum, training staff and volunteers, and leading many of them herself. She also offers a variety of public citizen science special events, such as an annual moth night celebrating National Moth Week and coordinating the local City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area event.
K-12 Educational Programs
Many schools visit Prairie Ridge, and Chris has developed and implemented a variety of curriculum correlated programs that engage K-12 students in citizen science during their visit to the Museum. Topics range from birdwatching to biodiversity surveys to water quality sampling and all include data collection for a citizen science project.
Environmental Educator Training Classes
North Carolina has a strong environmental educator certification program and participants eagerly seek training opportunities. Chris offers many 2 hour to 3 day train-the-trainer style workshops that introduce environmental educators to citizen science. These workshops give them the natural history and protocol training necessary to easilt take the project back to their centers.
Teacher Education Workshops
Teachers are becoming increasingly interested in offering citizen science experiences to their students, so Chris offers teacher training workshops multiple times a year to meet the need. Participants take part in a variety of citizen science projects, learning how to collect and enter data, and take home ideas for how they can incorporate what they learned into their own classrooms.
On Demand Programming
Chris receives many requests to bring her programs to schools, environmental education centers, and other sites. She annually participates in SciMatch, an event coordinated by the North Carolina Science Festival that takes scientists into schools statewide. She has also offered hands on programs and talks at colleges and universities, environmental education centers, schools, garden and wildlife clubs, and many others.