Using Citizen Science to Facilitate Authentic K-12 STEM Experiences for Pollinator Conservation

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr. Kaitlin Campbell, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Dr. Martin Farley, Chair, Associate Professor (Creator)
Dr. Rita Hagevik, Assistant Professor, Science Education, Director of Graduate Programs in Science Education (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:

Abstract: The Kids in the Garden Program (UNC-Pembroke) is a grant funded summer camp and weekend program, focused on pollinator conservation. The goals of the program are to nurture minority and disadvantaged middle and high school students’ interest, enthusiasm, and identity in the sciences with out-of-doors and authentic research experiences. Robeson County in Southeastern North Carolina is rural, with food insecurity and poverty higher than the national averages. Though surrounded by agriculture, the majority of young students remain unaware of the issues facing pollinator biodiversity and the connections between food security and pollinator conservation. Our program incorporates citizen science projects to forge this connection while simultaneously encouraging young people to perceive that they, themselves, are in fact scientists, contributing to data collection and analysis for issues spanning the country and globe. We developed and maintain a pollinator garden to promote native bees comprised of over 50 beds and 100+ varieties of native and ornamental nectar and pollen plants. Additionally, we have several types of vegetables and fruit trees. Our program participates in the “Great Pumpkin Project” (North Carolina State University), “Great Sunflower Project” (San Francisco State University), and the “Crown Bees Native Bee Network” (Woodinville, Washington) using the UNCP Campus Garden and Apiary. Additionally, we plan to incorporate “Bumble Bee Watch” (Xerces Society) and potentially develop our own project in the future. To reach a wider audience of students, beyond just those enrolled in our program, we provide teacher workshops discussing pollen, pollination, and bees with a focus on discipline literacy. During these workshops we provide teachers with information about STEM citizen science projects that could be incorporated into their lesson plans. We have found that the use of citizen science projects makes science personal, and the participants feel more comfortable talking about science, data collection, and conservation to friends and family. Pollinator losses are a global concern and our program lets participants know that when thinking globally, we can act locally.

Additional Information

UNCP Research and Creativity Showcase
Language: English
Date: 2019
Science, Entomology, Kids in the Garden Program, Citizen Science Projects, K-12 STEM Experiences, Bees, Bumble Bees, Pollinator Conservation, Pollinator Biodiversity, Food Insecurity
Bees – North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Robeson County (N.C.)

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