GREENSBORO, NC — The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is partnering with The North Carolina Arboretum to encourage students in grades K-8 to participate in ecoEXPLORE, a citizen science program created specifically for children. A kickoff celebration will be held outside, in front of the GSC, on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Admission to the ecoEXPLORE kickoff celebration is free. Admission to the Greensboro Science Center is not included with this free event; however, participants will receive a coupon for discounted general admission to the GSC if they choose to visit on this day.
During the celebration, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the ecoEXPLORE program. Those who register will earn their first ecoEXPLORE patch. ecoEXPLORE is divided into four parts: entomology, ornithology, herpetology, and botany. The focus of the kickoff celebration will be entomology (the study of insects). Participants will begin their ecoEXPLORE journey by learning about and meeting a few insects, exploring three different insect habitats, and searching for bugs around GSC grounds.
"We are thrilled to partner with The North Carolina Arboretum to help this program spread from the mountains to the piedmont," said Martha Regester, the GSC’s VP of Education. "Getting kids into nature and helping them learn how we do science is one of our goals here at the Greensboro Science Center, too."
ecoEXPLORE is an innovative program that combines science exploration with kid-friendly technology to create a fun learning series while encouraging children to explore the outdoors and participate in citizen science.
After signing up online at ecoexplore.net, explorers go outside in their own backyard or at designated HotSpots to find wildlife, including plants, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds. By taking pictures and submitting information to their online account, participants help scientists around the world. Data collected by ecoEXPLORE citizen scientists help professional scientists understand changes in our environment and see how these changes impact plants, animals and other natural resources.
Sharing is a part of science, and after logging in to the ecoEXPLORE site, participants submit photos with information which is reviewed by Arboretum staff before being submitted to the iNaturalist Network, which is used by real scientists worldwide. Observations add points to an EXPLORER’s profile, which can be redeemed for prizes to support and reward their fieldwork, from ecoEXPLORE patches and logo items to binoculars, field equipment, critter cameras, and an iPod to record observations.
For more information about ecoEXPLORE or to sign up, visit ecoexplore.net.
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