Connections in the Critical Zone: A Workshop Overview

BedrockBedrock

Posted: February 29, 2024

Connections in the Critical Zone: A Workshop Overview

Part of the job of the Critical Zone Collaborative Network is to ensure that current research and relevant topics in critical zone science are communicated to the public. One of the best ways to do that is through scientific workshops for educators who are excited about critical zone science and can pass it on to their students.

In July of 2023, the Bedrock cluster’s Education & Outreach team led a workshop for middle and high school educators that introduced them to important concepts in critical zone science. The workshop, called “Connections in the Critical Zone”, spanned two full days and was facilitated by Team Bedrock’s Educational Outreach Coordinator Lily Eligator, PI Jorden Hayes, graduate student Rachel Uecker, and undergraduate student Natalie Cist.

Educators learned about everything from place-based learning to critical zone processes to issues in the CZ and beyond. That being said, the workshop specifically highlighted research done by the Bedrock Critical Zone Network all across the country. Educators also had the opportunity to connect these new concepts to science standards and outline aspects of the workshop that they would like to take back to their classrooms. In an anonymous survey administered after the workshop, educators shared that they most valued the workshop’s focus on current critical zone research, emphasis on collaboration, and integration of “adult-level” science - science that educators were interested in learning rather than a more simplified version that they would teach.

When asked about why workshops like these are important, Hayes shared “These educators are experts in K-12 scientific pedagogies and have so much experience sharing science with kids. By bringing together CZ experts with experts in education we can have an outsized impact teaching the next generation about the critical zone.”

The BCZN team will be holding three more workshops this upcoming summer in SW Virginia, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. Interested in a future workshop? Please reach out to Educational Outreach Coordinator Lily Eligator at lilyeligator@vt.edu