Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ShowMe Nature GK-12 Program: Inspiring the Next Generation
Midwest Region, April 28, 2012
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The inaugural ShowMe Nature GK-12 Research Symposium was held on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday April 28, 2012. This was the culmination of a year-long program that connected doctorial students in conservation biology and agriculture with local elementary and middle school science classes.

The GK-12 Program, officially called the Graduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fellows in Education Program, was initiated at the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2011, but has been supported nationwide by the National Science Foundation since 1999. Columbia Ecological Services Field Office Supervisor Amy Salveter, worked with the University to provide U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds for supplies and equipment needed by the program to support their mini-grant program. The mini-grant program helped students learn first-hand about the scientific method and research.

As a class and with the help of their graduate “fellow," students developed a research proposal to answer a wildlife question at their school, many of which were camera-trap studies. Columbia-based Partners for Fish and Wildlife biologist Liisa Schmoele helped with the program over the 2011-2012 school year by reviewing student mini-grant proposals, speaking to elementary school students about endangered species in Missouri and participating in the research symposium by hosting an endangered species booth.

Most recently, Schmoele spoke to two incoming groups of teachers and fellows during their week-long orientation in June and August about environmental education efforts that the Service is engaged in at the national and field office levels, specifically in Missouri. The GK-12 Program is filling an important niche with regards to connecting our youth with nature and the outdoors, and the enthusiasm displayed by the children involved was inspiring.

Contact Info: Liisa Schmoele, (707) 822-7201, liisa_schmoele@fws.gov
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