1. Martha Merson
  2. Project Director
  3. iSWOOP2.0
  4. http://iswoopcave.com
  5. TERC
  1. Louise Allen
  2. http://www.wssu.edu/profile/dept/bios/allenl/default.aspx
  3. Visiting Assistant Professor
  4. iSWOOP2.0
  5. http://iswoopcave.com
  6. Winston-Salem State University
  1. Nick Hristov
  2. Assistant Professor, Design Researcher
  3. iSWOOP2.0
  4. http://iswoopcave.com
  5. Winston-Salem State University
  1. Tracey Wright
  2. iSWOOP2.0
  3. http://iswoopcave.com
  4. TERC
Facilitators’
Choice
Public
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 16, 2016 | 06:42 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project! I love that you are working to connect scientists in the parks with park rangers and visitors. Are you studying visitors’ reactions to the rangers’ descriptions of the science in the parks?

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 09:53 p.m.

    The video illustrates the majesty of our national parks both as a venue for science research and for STEM learning. We share findings from our pilot project at Carlsbad Caverns. In 2016 the iSWOOP team begins work at Acadia National Park. Over the next three years, we plan to work with researchers and park rangers in small and large, urban and remote parks.

    We hope to learn more how and when researchers’ stories and visualizations (alone and in combination) are useful to interpreters as tools that foster personal and intellectual connections with the parks. Scott Pattison and Monae Verbeke will research the interest pathways sparked by iSWOOP programs in which research is prominent.

    Civic engagement is one of our overall goals, as we hope the parks become a forum to discuss the science and other issues park staff take into account when making decisions on how to manage our collectively held natural resources. Moving from conversations about specific studies or species to framing larger questions with opportunities for visitors to talk back is new territory for everyone.

  • Small default profile

    Laura Huff

    Guest
    May 17, 2016 | 05:15 p.m.

    Awesome project by world class researchers. Thank you for sharing with the world!

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 04:48 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words. We are as exited to work on the project as we are to share our findings.

  • Icon for: Victor van den Bergh

    Victor van den Bergh

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 07:42 p.m.

    Dear Martha and your team,
    Great video and project! This seems like an excellent way to engage and inform visitors at national parks, and I could imagine that it really changes the way they experience the park during their visit. I also really like your emphasis on civic engagement alongside sparking an interest in the science. Could you talk a bit about the challenges that you encountered in accomplishing your pilot project, and how you plan to address these as you move forward with your plans for the next three years? Thank you very much for sharing your work!

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:47 p.m.

    Hi Victor,
    We have gotten some great comments from visitors. Things like, “Thank you! This is awesome! We don’t have to pay extra for this?!” or a mom who thanked a ranger, saying, “My kids will remember this for the rest of their lives.”

    I can think of challenges in every aspect of the work we are doing. As we develop visual libraries for different parks with the chosen, featured researcher, we all wonder how to make this kind of collaboration sustainable. We are hoping that the scientists will see the benefits of public exposure and increased public understanding. As a result they will then be willing to commit time to professional development for the park interpreters and take time to develop visualizations that will captivate visitors. For our work with Acadia National Park, we are working with new media students at a local university. We’d like to create a precedent for collaboration among faculty who do park-based research, the park interpretive leaders, and the student designers. If we can repeat this process successfully with new researchers next summer, I think we’ll be on to something.

    Documenting the response, both interpreters’ and visitors’ is a challenge, particularly when conversations are informal, outside, many happen in a row, etc. We will keep experimenting—google forms, tally sheets, text messages … Any suggestions??

  • Icon for: Victor van den Bergh

    Victor van den Bergh

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2016 | 10:13 p.m.

    That does sound like a challenge. I think that it can be powerful and helpful to give visitors the chance to create their own documentation. Perhaps you could develop a station for visitors to draw or describe science experiments they would do in the park, or ways that certain science experiments going on at the park could be visualized in a creative way? Just a thought. Thanks again for your work!

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 10:22 p.m.

    I love these ideas. We did an event for the public in Bar Harbor where we had NPS staff and others from the area tell stories about their research—coincidences, catastrophes, break-throughs. Beforehand we handed out cards and asked everyone to complete the sentence, “Research in parks is …”. We got very thoughtful submissions—drawings and words. One person asked for a second card.
    All to say, I think an invitation to draw or write and to be creative would be welcomed.
    Sometimes I feel a little let down for visitors when they make a suggestion that isn’t viable. But that is part of the process. The first idea is not always the best or most doable idea.

  • Icon for: Karen Purcell

    Karen Purcell

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 06:24 a.m.

    Dear Martha and team,
    Thanks for a gorgeous and informative video! How do you deliver/disseminate the visualizations? Have you found any challenges in doing so?
    I can’t wait to see what is next for you and your team. This is important work!

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 04:55 p.m.

    Hi Karen,
    Finally, I am in reach of wi-fi. The iSWOOP team has been on location in Maine. At the beginning of this work Acadia staff kicked off professional development with paleo-ecologist Jacquelyn Gill. The plan is for interpreters at Acadia National Park to take what they know from their work in the field with her and begin weaving this research into their programs for the public. The several visualizations related to plant and animal community change from the last, say, 14,000 years, will be available on an iPad.

    Today the team talked about how interpreters can use the visualizations in different ways. They might be a compelling, colorful hook at the beginning of a conversation. They might be a prop for explaining a complex idea. Or they might be the basis for an inquiry-oriented interaction where the visitors together begin to observe patterns, speculate, predict, and question. This last is most central to iSWOOP, but of course, can’t happen if there’s no audience, so it’s convenient to have visuals that are literally arresting.

    Everything we design is meant to be in interpreters’ hands. Visualizations are meant to accompany questions and information provided by an interpreter, a place-based expert. We don’t design for kiosks or for independent visitor use.

    Challenges? Tablets are portable, but they aren’t large enough for a crowd of 10 or 15 to see easily. Interpreters who are excited about sharing knowledge might tend to leave out the part where the visitors get to puzzle out something for themselves.

    At our pilot site, Carlsbad Caverns, interpreters used images of the baby bats quite frequently during informal interactions with visitors (chitchatting in the cave or visitor center). Of course, the charismatic, adorable baby bats are more popular than graphs of precipitation data which help predict the bat population. We’d like to make sure that conversations that start out with bat facts touch on the research questions and findings that bat researchers have and the potential relevance for visitors.

  • Icon for: Karen Purcell

    Karen Purcell

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2016 | 05:05 p.m.

    Thanks for your great response Martha. I really love way in which the science is woven into conversations/interpretation. Congratulations on a fantastic and important project.

  • Icon for: Karen Purcell

    Karen Purcell

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2016 | 05:05 p.m.

    Thanks for your great response Martha. I really love way in which the science is woven into conversations/interpretation. Congratulations on a fantastic and important project.

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 18, 2016 | 02:09 p.m.

    Martha, Who develops the scientific visualisations? Is this a joint effort between project staff and park rangers? Are visualisations developed in one park reusable by another? The video is beautiful to watch. Thanks for submitting it!

  • Icon for: Nick Hristov

    Nick Hristov

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 12:39 a.m.

    Hi Joni,

    Like most elements of iSWOOP, the visualizations are developed collaboratively among the scientists whose data they are based on, the informal science educators and the interpreters. The project team brings additional expertise in visual narrative, design, technical production etc.

    The project is growing from the original pilot site at Carlsbad Caverns NP to 5 additional parks over the next 4 years. Each park features different scientist(s) so the visualizations are specific to their work and by extension to the interests of the visitors. At Carlsbad Caverns NP, the visualizations were about bats and caves, at Acadia NP they will be about biogeography, paleo-ecology and landscape change over time.

    And thank you for the kind words! We are thrilled to share the project with this group and the broader public!

    Nick

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    susan meynell

    Guest
    May 18, 2016 | 05:14 p.m.

    I enjoyed the opportunity to meet you at the Schoodic Institute. You group was so much fun to be able to make food for :) The ISWOOP initiative sounds like an amazing idea!

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 04:49 p.m.

    Thank you Susan, We had a lovely time on the SERC Campus kicking off the second phase of iSWOOP. Thanks for taking such great care of our participants.

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 04:57 p.m.

    Thanks for being a friend to iSWOOP! I hope you enjoy some excellent programs this summer. You’ll have to let me know if you learn anything new about the how researchers figure out when different plant and animal communities were thriving and dying in the area.
    All the best,
    Martha

  • Small default profile

    susan meynell

    Guest
    May 19, 2016 | 03:43 p.m.

    I enjoyed the opportunity to meet you at the Schoodic Institute. You group was so much fun to be able to make food for :) The ISWOOP initiative sounds like an amazing idea!

  • Icon for: Joseph Wilson

    Joseph Wilson

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2016 | 08:51 p.m.

    #teamMartha – OMG OMG OMG OMG. My inner Millennial came out while watching this video – I found myself saying “YES” to nearly all of it. First – thank you for an incredibly compelling video that not only wants me to visit a National Park again but also want to go back and get another PhD focused on environmental science! Secondly – I love the interdisciplinary and multi-pronged approach here through visualizations. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about how iSWOOP is being distributed across national parks (and dare I say state parks, too?)? Excellent video and excellent project.

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 01:23 p.m.

    Hello Joseph, OMG is right, right?

    In this phase of the iSWOOP project we have selected 5 additional parks to further test out the professional development model. We piloted the project at Carlsbad Caverns National Park over the last 2 years. We just finished our Kick-off Institute with park participants from Acadia National Park, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, and other project advisors. We are in the first year of this new, expanded project and still working out what works for the many different kinds of sites within NPS, and learning what organizational support is needed to sustain the model. It is a goal to find a set of guiding principles that could be adopted by NPS sites across the country, to help tell the stories of scientific discovery and give park visitors the opportunity to learn and get excited about how we know what we know.

  • Icon for: Joseph Wilson

    Joseph Wilson

    Facilitator
    May 20, 2016 | 03:38 p.m.

    FANTASTIC! Have you considered a train-the-trainer approach to scaling this up? (i.e. clump regions of National Parks together [unless there is already this structure organizationally — I don’t know!]) and designate certain folks as the trainers and build up those trainers? Do you think there is a role in PK-12 students taking part in helping sharing the incredible research going on to support peer-to-peer learning? Thanks for responding so quickly – I recognize these questions are really high-level and pie-in-the-sky.. but you really piqued my interest here. :)

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 05:41 p.m.

    This isn’t really answering your question, but we are considering all approaches for scaling up. We are using Carlsbad Caverns as our testing ground for scaling up/sustainability purposes. They have been working with us the longest and we are working with some key personnel there to add new scientists, science stories, and visualizations this summer.

    Because this is an ISL project we did not envision a role for PK-12 students.

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 10:32 p.m.

    I would add to Louise’s response that university students of the featured scientist can easily be involved both in the field work with interpreters and as “experts” involved in the professional development. If a park wants to include hs students, volunteers, or interns in the professional development sessions, we are all for it. Anyone who will interact with the public, who wants to know more about the research, is welcome.

    We imagine interpreters taking a leadership role in professional development in their own parks, as new staff come on. Most interpreters have a pretty demanding schedule and I’m not sure how training at other parks would work. There is a precedent for this with facilitated dialogue training, so now you have me curious about that. The Park Service has regional centers and research learning centers with staff who have some responsibility for training and technical assistance at more than one park. Some interesting possibilities to consider. Thanks, Joseph!

  • Small default profile

    Myriam Steinback

    Guest
    May 20, 2016 | 08:35 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful compelling video – the visualizations are impressive; much learning ahead for National Park visitors thanks to your work on iSWOOP!

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 01:24 p.m.

    Thank you Myriam, for the kind words.

  • Icon for: Roger Taylor

    Roger Taylor

    Assistant Professor
    May 20, 2016 | 05:16 p.m.

    Such a beautiful video, I felt I was watching a PBS/BBC Nature episode!

  • Icon for: Louise Allen

    Louise Allen

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 05:43 p.m.

    Thank you for the kind words.

  • Small default profile

    Douglas Char

    Guest
    May 22, 2016 | 10:49 p.m.

    As a scientist – educator and NPS fan I think this is an awesome project and ideal way to bring STEMI to the public in an engaging and captivating manner – Bravo!! What better way to show off the beauty and importance of these national treasures

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 23, 2016 | 11:04 a.m.

    Hi Douglas, Thank you for this note. Please share the link with some of your VT friends. I haven’t yet let Rolf know about it.
    All the best,
    Martha

  • Icon for: Betsy Stefany

    Betsy Stefany

    Coordinator STEM Literacy Community of Practice
    May 23, 2016 | 08:17 a.m.

    The idea is totally engaging! As an extension of the digital tools that we introduced in classrooms in our project introduce by the Using 3 I PD video (http://stemforall2016.videohall.com/presentatio...), the CoP is just adding National Parks visiting Gettysburg College’s Advancing Science staff on a stream study in Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. Visual tools are so valuable to focus the multiple aspects of space protected and “developed” for public use over time. Their opportunities to use and share sites and experiences are amazing. Thank you for introducing the idea and sharing the video. I will refer to it often as we progress.

  • Icon for: Martha Merson

    Martha Merson

    Presenter
    May 23, 2016 | 11:03 a.m.

    Betsy, Nice connections! I know Julie Vastine and the work of ALLARM (am I spelling that right?) One challenge ahead is to interest visitors in historic places in some of the climate change and other interesting science opportunities at hand. Please keep us posted on that.
    We are also finding that stories of the researchers are engaging for the public. Maybe even more so in a historically focused park. Telling and retelling stories about who started monitoring and why and what the frustrations are and what will happen once the researchers figure out the next step will likely add to the public’s interest. Please keep us posted!

  • Icon for: Betsy Stefany

    Betsy Stefany

    Coordinator STEM Literacy Community of Practice
    May 23, 2016 | 01:39 p.m.

    You know Dickenson’s project with their students. Advancing Science assists PA area k-12 teachers to access a variety of science materials through extension of mentors. Complementary. Yes, engagement is the huge step and where our project as STEM Literacy makes that step “accessible”. We wrap in media as well as individual tool activities and have collected in Walden Pond..where they have jellyfish that emmigrated via the floral industry and follow Thoreau on his travels through New England..logging (the data type, of course!)
    Look forward to watching your next edition.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.