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Extension > Driven to Discover Citizen Science: Provoking authentic inquiry > Archives > July 2012 Archives

July 2012 Archives

Citizen scientists at work

Ohio-students-searching-for-milkweed.jpg.JPGGoing out to the milkweed plot with my students is like going on a treasure hunt. The search is never the same from week to week and there are other inhabitants on the milkweed plants along with the inhabitants on the marsh next to the study area. Once you find monarch eggs, when you return a week later there are small caterpillars and by the next week the caterpillars are gone from the milkweed, hidden nearby as they change from caterpillar to butterfly. Another week and you may see an adult female landing on the milkweed searching for the ideal plant where she will lay her eggs, starting a new generation.

Deb Marcinski

Adult research team member
Naturalist, North Chagrin Nature Center
Willoughby Hills, OH

Evaluation tips

Post-assessments and care packages sent!

We sent out the post-assessments as well as some treats for your youth as they fill out these delightful surveys -- please be sure to save enough time at the last meeting for this. If you did not receive either one of these, please contact Siri (scot0398@umn.edu; 612-624-7999). Enjoy, and a huge thanks to you and your youth for your help in this evaluation!

Upcoming events

Driven to Discover adult leader/project team conference call

Our next Driven to Discover Citizen Science conference call will take place on Tues., Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m. central time. Join the call by dialing 1-424-203-8075 and entering the passcode 795878#. This is a place to get questions answered, share ideas, and make connections with other adult leaders. The entire summer schedule of conference calls is listed on the last page in the "Management" section of your binders.

Read the summary of our July 26 conference call here.

Research team updates

This space is FOR YOU! We will publish exciting news from your research team here. Send any stories or pictures you'd like published to Grant at bowe0182@umn.edu.

  • Update from Michael G., youth research team member, Ohio


    Hi! It's Michael G., and I just wanted to say that I have made a video on my caterpillars I am taking care of here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMs9U7Cjs_U&feature=plcp.

    I also found out that the tubercles on a cecropia moth caterpillar are orange and red depending on when they are going to molt, red being very close to molting.

    That's all!

  • Update from Anne Stevenson, project team member, University of Minnesota

    Here is a link to an article about a butterfly class Terri Haynes led for Anoka County 4-H in Minnesota: http://abcnewspapers.com/2012/06/29/anoka-county-4-hers-explore-the-butterfly/.

    Research team members Isabelle and Katie also helped teach and work with the kids in this class of about12-15 kids! They used the monarch board game the group created last year, and shared their research displays with this group also.

  • Update from Kristina McCullough, adult research team member, The Renaissance Academy, Powhatan, Virginia

    Project Aviary (our team name) hosted a wildlife rehabilitator who brought in a variety of education birds to help us learn more about our study animals. In appreciation of that we conducted a supply and fund drive in support of their program. I thought it might be helpful to other teams to have a pre-built flyer if they wanted to do the same. (I hate reinventing the wheel!) It's attached here.

  • Update from Gerri Fitzloff, adult research team member, Stewart, Minnesota

    This last week we found some tussock moth larvae. The girls were really interested in learning all about these critters and why there were so many this year--and we had never noticed them the last two years. I think some of them may even do a project on them. We also found this toad a few weeks ago...

    tussock-moth-larvae.jpggirl-with-toad.jpg

Scientist update

small-4th-from-ilse-hot-sum.jpgAfter a strong, early start this spring, we are hearing reports of very low numbers for monarch populations throughout much of the upper midwestern US. While it's too early to be sure about the causes for this drop in numbers, one strong possibility is the extreme heat we've been having. Monarchs, and many other animals, have a hard time with extreme temperatures, and they don't have air-conditioned buildings to escape to, like we do! We know from work done in the U of M Monarch Lab by Reba Batalden that temperatures too much above 90 degrees F start causing problems, although if these temperatures don't last long, the monarchs are okay. Extreme temperatures cause mortality, slower development, and smaller caterpillars. The attached picture of a 4th instar taken by MLMP volunteer Ilse Gebhard in Michigan illustrates this - look at the ruler in the photo and compare this caterpillar to other 4th instars you've seen!

Thanks to the monarch groups for helping us understand what's going on with monarchs this summer!

Karen Oberhauser

Evaluation tips

Youth post-assessments

The questionnaires for youth to fill out during the last meeting will be mailed to you shortly. If your numbers have changed and you need more assessments, please contact Siri (scot0398@umn.edu; 612-624-7999). Remember to leave 30 - 40 minutes during your last meeting to fill these out. Also, a little treat for each youth will be included as a huge thank you for their help in this evaluation!

Nuts and bolts

  • 30-minute (or more!) inquiry

    During our conference call on July 12, a few of you had the great suggestion that it would be useful to have the blank 30-minute Inquiry in electronic format so that you could easily distribute it to your group. Here it is. If you have access to the microsoft program Publisher, you should use the .pub file if you'd like to modify it for your purposes. Otherwise, you can use the .pdf file. Thanks for a good idea that will help other leaders!

    Mini inquiry Publisher file
    Mini inquiry PDF file

  • Bi-monthly phone calls
    Thanks to everyone who has joined one or more of our adult leader phone calls. We've learned a lot from you during these calls, and hope that they've been useful to you. So far, we've discussed these questions: "What are you doing to get your clubs started off on the right foot?", "What are you doing to train the youth on the citizen science protocols (and to ensure data quality)?", and "What experiences have helped your youth prepare for designing an investigation?" If there are topics you'd like to cover in a call, please let us know! Look for e-mails from Grant with upcoming call details.

Adult leader resource links

Tips for taking pictures of your research team

We love seeing and getting pictures of your research team in action! University of Minnesota Extension Communications put together three simple tips for taking great photographs - try these tips for powerful photographs of your monitoring, investigation and teamwork.

  1. Try striving for a candid photograph, where team members are engaged in interaction or tasks at hand. They might be seemingly unaware of the camera or perhaps glancing at it, but most importantly they're captured "in the moment," authentic -- not posed.
  2. Try to get a perspective that is "first person." The goal is for the audience to feel like they're sharing in that moment. Photos of team members/subjects are shot at eye level or from below eye level.
  3. Use natural lighting whenever possible - which is easy to do when you are in the field monitoring birds, water, and monarch larvae!

Upcoming events

Driven to Discover adult leader/project team conference call

Our next Driven to Discover Citizen Science conference call will take place on Thurs., July 26 at 2:00 p.m. central time. Join the call by dialing 1-424-203-8075 and entering the passcode 795878#. This is a place to get questions answered, share ideas, and make connections with other adult leaders. The entire summer schedule of conference calls is listed on the last page in the "Management" section of your binders.

Read the summary of our July 12 conference call here.

Research team updates

D2D-Club jpg.jpgThis space is FOR YOU! We will publish exciting news from your research team here. Send any stories or pictures you'd like published to Grant at bowe0182@umn.edu.


Dispatch from the Rochester D2D club:

The D2D monarch club in Rochester has just begun meeting. We are part of the summer camp programming at Quarry Hill Nature Center and will meet M-F mornings 9 - 11:30 a.m. for two consecutive weeks. After three meetings we have learned to identify four different kinds of milkweed and monitored for monarchs in two different locations (total findings = 2 first instars and 1 egg). We are raising about 15 monarchs in our meeting place and yesterday had the amazing fortune of observing two caterpillars as they changed from "Js" into pupae. The kids and I were amazed! How does that big caterpillar fit in that tiny pupa? How did it make the green casing? How gross/amazing is that pile of molted skin? Tomorrow we will attempt our first mini-inquiry. I think we'll invent a question we can answer by looking at data in the MLMP website since the kids were really into the data we looked at today. I also want to be sure to save time for a fun game as we've been all-business so far.

Andrea Lorek Strauss

Extension Educator

Scientist update

snapshot-of-2010-youth-participants.jpgJune 2012 brought the Monarch Biology and Conservation Meeting to Minnesota, with several Driven to Discover groups playing big roles in the conference. The meeting took place over two and a half days at the University of Minnesota's Arboretum in Chanhassen. It brought together over 160 people from all across the US and from countries throughout the world, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The purpose of the gathering was to bring together monarch biologists, citizen scientists, land managers, and other interested parties in an effort to share conservation strategies, new findings in monarch biology, and information about trends in monarch populations.

Throughout the meeting, participants had the opportunity to attend a wide range of workshops and monarch-related field trips. One such trip was a visit to Spring Peeper Meadow, a Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) site that is monitored by Cindy Petersen and her Driven to Discover group from St. Hubert School. Participants on this excursion were able to see how MLMP monitoring works and explore the beautiful meadow. Laura Molenaar and her students also assisted with monitoring and brought their research to the poster session, along with Cindy's group. Annette Strom's D2D group also braved the floods from Duluth to come down and present their research from this past summer. Additionally, many scientists who gave research talks stressed the importance of the data provided by citizen science ventures, like MLMP and MonarchHealth, in providing valuable information for research.

Overall, the conference was a huge success, in large part because of the participants, volunteers, and presenters (including several other D2D participants not listed here).

Pictures of the event will be available later in the summer on the meeting website: http://www.monarchlab.org/mn2012.

Kelly Nail

University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Evaluation tips

  • Entering parent or other anecdotes about inspiring youth

    We are starting to hear wonderful stories from parents and adult leaders about how Driven to Discover has inspired youth to go beyond the program to study their organisms or take part in the world of natural science.

    We want to keep track of anything that you hear from parents or the youth themselves about how the Driven to Discover program has inspired them. This link is a way for us to organize all those wonderful stories. Simply copy and paste an email or type the information into the comment area you will find through this link:
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D2D-Inspired-Youth

    Thank you! We appreciate your help keeping track of the larger impacts!

  • Consents and pre-surveys
    After you have collected all of the consent forms and pre-surveys, please mail them to Siri as soon after the first meeting as possible.

    Attn: Siri Scott
    Center for Youth Development
    200 Oak Street SE, Suite 296F
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

  • Meeting planning and reporting forms
    Thanks to everyone who has already entered a meeting planning and reporting form online! As a reminder, please fill out one form for every meeting that you have. Here's a link to the form:
    www.surveymonkey.com/s/D2D-Adult-Leader-Reporting-Form

  • Questions or confused about evaluation?
    Contact Siri!
    Phone: 612-624-7999
    Email: scot0398@umn.edu

Upcoming events

Driven to Discover adult leader/project team conference call

Our next Driven to Discover Citizen Science conference call will be held on July 12 at 6:30 p.m. central time. Join the call by dialing 1-424-203-8075 and entering the passcode 795878#. This is a place to get questions answered, share ideas, and make connections with other adult leaders. The entire summer schedule of conference calls is listed on the last page in the "Management" section of your binders.

Read the summary of our June 26 conference call here.

Research team updates

This space is FOR YOU! We will publish exciting news from your research team here. Send any stories or pictures you'd like published to Grant at bowe0182@umn.edu.

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