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A bioblitz can offer students a unique hands-on learning experience that will make them more aware of the amount of biodiversity in their neighborhood and will teach them to identify new species. Communities will benefit from the events as well – neighbors can gain a greater awareness of what’s in their backyards, and perhaps even become better connected to the natural world that surrounds them!

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Animals are a common interest among children. Whether they’re in love with cats of all shapes and sizes or fascinated by the destructive power of a shark’s jaws, children can learn a lot through having an interest in creatures. In utilizing the numerous animal-related community-based learning resources available locally, families can support children of all ages in learning about everything from biological classification to compassion. Summer opens up these opportunities and is the perfect time to seek out animal demonstrations, visit the zoo, or learn about biology through volunteering at a shelter.

Elms College is throwing a Bioblitz this Saturday at Chicopee Memorial State Park. Teachers, students, parents and friends of all ages are invited to team up with scientists to identify as many of the park’s living creatures as possible in a single day. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people working in scientific fields and ask them questions about science in general or about their careers specifically. Participation can get community members interested in the biodiversity of their local lands, and as a result make them more invested in conservation efforts. Documenting of local species can give scientists clues for further research. You never know what you’re going to find until you look! Register online.

Just in time for the awakening of amphibian species, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary offers a training on the FrogWatch citizen science project! Using this and other resources, families can learn about local species of frogs and salamanders and can engage in important conservation work.

Volunteer for river conservation by participating in the Westfield River Committee’s Watershed Blitz! River-loving, conservation-minded families can volunteer alongside experts in order to spot and identify the many plant and animal species that reside on the river’s banks – working together to gather useful information about the local environment. Held in celebration of the committee’s 20th year of preservation work, the event not only supports future preservation, but promotes community participation in the process!

Opening at the Springfield Museums this weekend is “Rainforest Adventure,” a multi-sensory exhibit offering an interactive experience that both adults and children will enjoy as they learn together about one of our planet’s most precious resources…

Crash Course: 6 Courses. 112 Episodes. Research has shown that students can lose two months (or more!) worth of their learning in mathematics and language arts during the summer if they aren’t exposed to meaningful and enriching learning activities while they’re out of school. Of course, informal learning can take place for students in almost any situation where they have a little bit of freedom. They’ll learn while climbing a tree, they’ll… Read More

Tabletop Biosphere: Lessons in Biology Looking for lessons in biology with your kids? Try making your very one tabletop biosphere! What is a biosphere? Planet earth is a biosphere, an enclosed, self-regulating system with no intervention from outside the sphere. And while sounding like something out of a science fiction novel, human-made biospheres exist on large scales (i.e., Biosphere 2 in Arizona) and small scales, like in a jar on your windowsill! To learn how a… Read More

Organize a Bioblitz in Your Community! Are your kids curious about all of the many different plants and animals that they find while exploring outside?  Have you ever been curious about the amount of biodiversity in your community?  Would your students benefit from a hands-on species identification project?  Do a bioblitz! A bioblitz is a community event designed to quickly compile information on biodiversity in a relatively small area.  Community members of… Read More

As You’d Expect, Hurricane Irene Drastically Altered Local River Ecology Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen School of Westhampton, MA writes: The past Wednesday afternoon, Biocitizen teamed up with Hilltown Families to do our annual rapid biotic assessment of the Westfield River downstream of the Route 143 bridge in West Chesterfield, MA. Thank you volunteer citizen scientists! Before we began, our hosts Sienna, Jim and Persephone described how scarily high the river… Read More

Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen School of Westhampton, MA writes: How many times have you looked at a river thinking, how beautiful—and pulled out your camera to capture the swells of whitewater, a striking blue heron, or blazing maple tree in the autumn overhanging its banks? A river is not just beautiful, though; it’s alive, and those who witness this life, this bios, never look at or appreciate a river the… Read More

Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body Springfield Science Museum through September 6th, 2009 Grossology is based on a popular series of books by science teacher Sylvia Branzei. The exhibit is an interactive, larger-than-life biology lesson that harnesses children’s natural curiosity about themselves and explains how the human body functions. Grossology engages young children by appealing to their fascination with the stinky, slimy, noisy functions of their bodies. Visitors enter Grossology… Read More

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