Wildscreen is a STEM organisation – an organisation involved in science, technology, engineering or maths – and the ARKive project represents two of these, combining conservation science and internet technology to build awareness of the world’s endangered species.
Our work with STEMNET
We first got involved in the STEMNET Ambassadors scheme in June 2010. STEMNET is a UK government-funded initiative, creating links between STEM-related organisations and schools, and inspiring young people to follow careers in STEM subjects. Teachers looking for guest speakers and workshops contact their local STEMNET coordinator, in our case the lovely Claire Dimond at Graphic Science, who then invites relevant STEM Ambassadors to run an activity or talk at the school. The sessions are provided free of charge and as a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on environmental education, it was a no-brainer for ARKive to participate.
To date, the ARKive team has run 28 workshops and talks in 12 schools around the Bristol and Bath area and 4 workshops with 2 schools in London. These have covered a wide range of topics including conservation, biodiversity, natural selection and evolution, penguins, minibeasts, adaptation, careers in wildlife media, animal communication and scientific communication. We also attended the Big Bang Fair in 2010 and 2011, a huge STEM-related science fair for young people, where we spoke to over 7,500 attendees. In February this year we increased our number of ARKive Ambassadors from 2 to 10; so you could say that we have been very busy!
New ARKive teaching resources
The workshops have also been a great way of developing and testing new ARKive educational tools, which you can now find on our new-look teaching resources page. The teaching resources we have developed as part of our STEMNET work include modules on adaptation and sexual selection, and join our existing modules on conservation, food webs, classification and evolution. The ARKive Education pages will continually be updated as we develop new workshops and activities and we hope they become an invaluable free resource for science teachers.
A brilliant opportunity
STEMNET has been an excellent opportunity for ARKive to reach young people face-to-face in our local area and around the UK and spread the conservation message. The response varies! For those that already have an interest, ARKive is a great source of extra information and depth to improve their understanding. For those with less interest, we hope that our enthusiasm and ARKive’s “WOW-factor” can plant a seed that will grow into an appreciation of the amazing species we share this planet with. Whichever the case, all we can do is keep passing on the message.
Visit the STEMNET website for more information on the UK STEMNET Ambassador scheme.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on free ARKive workshops available in the Bristol and Bath area.
Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher / STEMNET Ambassador