Jul 1

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) logoPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA was flooded last weekend with nearly 20,000 education technology professionals and corporations from over 60 countries at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

This year’s theme was “Unlocking Potential” through the use of the best and newest technologies to improve teaching and learning experiences. ARKive was amongst 500 other global education technology companies and organizations present at the 5-day conference.

Wildscreen USA’s Program Assistant, Shelley Alingas, was able to attend several workshops and networking sessions that covered topics from how teachers use twitter in the classroom to how global information systems can be an effective tool for teaching about climate change. One teacher from Indiana first heard about ARKive while sitting next to Shelley during a Google Maps and Google Earth workshop –  when the presenter pulled up Google Earth on the big screen, she ecstatically pointed out the ARKive layers

Photo of Shelley Alingas, Wildscreen USA’s Program Assistant

Shelley Alingas standing in front of ARKive’s poster session at the ISTE conference.

Shelley promoted ARKive in a poster session in the Broad Street Atrium in the Pennsylvania Convention Center and met teachers and educators from all over the world, fascinated by ARKive and its free educational resources. This was ARKive’s first year attending the conference and we hope to continue to be involved with it in coming years to promote ARKive to US-based educational audiences. Next year, the conference will be held in San Diego, California, closer to our dolphin and sea lion friends!

For more information visit: www.iste.org

Shelley Alingas, Wildscreen USA’s Program Assistant

Jun 30
Photo of a student ARKive Museum Curator with button

“I’m a museum curator!”

Imagine walking the halls of an elementary school where the lockers and bulletin boards have been replaced with near life-size replicas of whales and giant maps of the continents dotted with endangered species around the world. This is exactly what happened recently at Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, Virginia in the U.S. when ARKive staff joined over 300 students, teachers and family and community members to launch the first ever ARKive School Museum!

The students spent several weeks researching various endangered species on the ARKive website and then constructed creative and educational exhibits incorporating art, science and interactive activities to teach visitors about threatened animals and plants. We definitely learned a thing or two from the students, or should we say “museum curators”!

“I’m a museum curator!”

Just before setting up their exhibits, all the students received buttons made by the ARKive team stating “Museum Curator. Questions?”, in both English and Spanish. This final touch combined with all their new knowledge about endangered species and effective museum exhibits empowered the students to proudly lead museum visitors through their exhibits.

Engaging visitors with interactive exhibits!

                                 Photo of a student comparing height to that of an emperor penguin            Photo of a student and mother comparing height to that of an emperor penguin

Each student incorporated an educational and interactive component into their ARKive exhibit. For example, this exhibit compared the heights of museum visitors with the heights of a variety of endangered species. On the left is a boy showing his mother how tall he is compared to an emperor penguin, which can grow to 130cm or 4 feet in the wild. His mother then followed suit passing off the emperor penguin in height but both mother and son have a long way to go to catch up to the blue whale, whose length extended the entire hallway

Bingo!

Photo of ARKive Bingo sign

There were signs all around the school leading school museum visitors to ARKive Endangered Species Bingo, a fun way to learn about different endangered species around the world and their conservation status.

Photo of student playing ARKive bingo with parent

The ARKive bingo room was jam packed with excitement. Several students led the game at the front of the room while players learned about the endangered species that were called out. Keep an eye on ARKive Education in the coming weeks to find a downloadable version of ARKive Endangered Species Bingo to play at home and an optional lesson plan for teachers to play in the classroom.

ARKive around the world!

Photo of students taking part in ARKive Geographic: Exploring the World’s Biodiversity

“ARKive Geographic: Exploring the World’s Biodiversity” was an ARKive activity incorporated into an exhibit where the student museum curator used large-scale print outs of the continents to teach their parents and friends about endangered species around the world, helping them to place the species where they are found on the map. This activity will also be available on ARKive Education in coming weeks so check back soon.

Photo of ARKive School Museum masks

Finally, some of the younger students created these colorful masks to literally bring school museum visitors face to face with endangered species.

The ARKive School Museum was an exciting evening and wonderful culminating event to celebrate the hard work of the student curators and all their new endangered species knowledge!  The ARKive staff would like to thank all the dedicated teachers, parents, and of course, the students involved in creating this incredible student-created, student-led night at the ARKive school museum.

Would you like to do an ARKive School Museum at your school? Contact ARKive to learn more about the ARKive School Museum project and how you can transform your hallways from lockers and bulletin boards to whales, world maps and everything in between!

Gabrielle Otero, Wildscreen USA/ARKive Summer Intern

Jun 22

The Bristol Festival of Nature is the largest event of its kind in the UK with a multitude of organisations coming together in order to bring people of all ages a step closer to the natural world. The intrepid ARKive team were on hand for the whole event to introduce people to the weird, the wonderful and, erm, origami?!   

Schools Day

The festival kicked off on Friday 17th June with schools day, where around 1,000 children travelled to Bristol centre to be entertained, engaged and inspired. Always ready for a challenge, the ARKive team introduced them to the wonderful world of Darwin’s fox and Barbour’s forest tree frog via the art of origami. With a series of nifty folds under the careful watch of our black belt origami instructors, some amazing critters were produced.   

Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher showing students how to make an origami frog

Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher and origami black belt at work

Photo of an origamo Darwin's fox and Barbour's forest tree frog

A lifelike Darwin's fox and Barbour's forest tree frog

For the aspiring zoologists, there was then a chance to test their knowledge with our quiz. See how you would fare by guessing who the following bundles of fluff belong to: tiger, coyote, Bornean orang-utan, brown bear or red wolf? Click on the image to find the answer!   

Can you guess what these youngsters will be when they grow up?

Can you guess what these youngsters will be when they grow up?

The Festival

The main festival took place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June and, despite the initial torrential rain, around 150 organisations put on a range of exciting activities from hedgehog making with the Avon Wildlife Trust to meeting a few of Bristol Zoo’s 175th anniversary Wow! Gorillas! At the ARKive stand, we were happy to chat with existing fans and introduce the website to new people of all ages. We were even able to mingle with some of the local wildlife ourselves!   

Photo of Bristol Zoo's Wow! Gorillas! - helping to celebrate the zoo's 175th anniversary

Bristol Zoo's Wow! Gorillas! - helping to celebrate the zoo's 175th anniversary

Photo of ARKive Media Research Assistant, Becky Taylor, mingling with the wildlife!

ARKive Media Research Assistant, Becky Taylor, mingling with the wildlife!

If you missed out on the fun, never fear, the award winning Festival of Nature will return to Bristol in June 2012. If you can’t wait that long, take a look at some of the other events run by the Bristol Natural History Consortium.   

For more images of our trip to the Festival of Nature visit our Flickr account  

Becky Moran, ARKive Media Researcher

Jun 21

LOOK3 logoThe town of Charlottesville, Virginia in the US played a very welcoming host to the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph last week and ARKive was there to take part in “3 days of peace, love and photography”. Here’s a rundown of the many LOOK3 activities that the ARKive team were involved with.

iLCP’s 12 Shots

The ARKive team attended 12 Shots, an event hosted by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), a partner organization to both LOOK3 and ARKive, which uses photography as a tool to further environmental and cultural conservation. 12 Shots is just that – a story told in 12 frames, with breathtaking images of nature and wildlife conservation.  A number of iLCP’s Fellows, who include some of the world’s most famous wildlife photographers, attended the event including Tom Mangelsen who has generously contributed numerous photos to the ARKive project.

Photo of a Bengal tiger in forest

Inspiring young conservation artists

The ARKive team visited multiple second and third grade classes (7 and 8 year olds) at Burnley-Moran Elementary and Greenbrier Elementary Schools. We held interactive presentations where we introduced the students to ARKive, and talked about photography and endangered species. The students loved learning about various species on ARKive and were more than excited to become “Conservation Artists”! The students were split into groups, with each group being given a drawing of an ARKive photo to color in. While they were hard at work, each group learned some fascinating facts about their species using the species profiles on the ARKive website. Check out these young Conservation Artists at work!

Wildscreen USA at LOOK3 2011 - Students colouring in a Bengal tiger

Students working on the Bengal tiger. Whilst they were coloring, they learned that there are only about 3,000 tigers left on the planet.

Wildscreen at Look3 2011 - Students colouring tanager bird

Students working on one of the most colorful small birds in the world, the blue and yellow tanager, which is found in South America.

Students’ final masterpieces displayed at the Paramount Theatre at LOOK3

Students’ final masterpieces displayed at the Paramount Theatre at LOOK3

As every artist does, our young conservation artists left their own personal signature for all to see.

                    Wildscreen USA at LOOK3 - Students signatures                            WildscreenUSA at LOOK3 - Students signatures

The TREES Exhibit and Talk – 2011 Artist: George Steinmetz

On Main Street along Charlottesville’s outdoor mall, beautiful wildlife and nature-centered photos are hung from the trees – it’s the TREES exhibit, one of the tell-tale signs that LOOK3 is in town! A new TREES Artist is chosen for each festival and this year it was George Steinmetz’s photos that graced the Charlottesville Mall. ARKive team members were very excited to sit in on the TREES Talk.

George Steinmetz, one the world’s most renowned aerial photographers, spoke of how he spent the last fourteen years flying over every grain of sand in the world to complete his project on the world’s deserts. The tales he told of flying over the world’s many deserts in a motorized paraglider fascinated us all, especially his daring adventures of out-running the local police or risking his life for the perfect shot!

Wildscreen USA at Look3 2011 -  Michael “Nick” Nichols and George Steinmetz

At the TREES Talk, Michael “Nick” Nichols, founder of the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph and George Steinmetz, the 2011 TREES Artist.

As you can see, the ARKive team had a very exciting two days in Charlottesville! It was so wonderful to spend time with some students from Charlottesville and help them use their creativity to educate people about endangered species as well as see all the conservation photography throughout the festival.

If you want to learn more about the LOOK3 Festival, check out their website, www.look3.org

Gabrielle Otero, Wildscreen USA / ARKive Summer Intern

May 23

With an office full of biologists it was only natural that given the opportunity to help out at the Bristol BioBlitz many of the ARKive team jumped at the chance to get their hands dirty and swap their computers for cameras and clipboards. BioBlitz is a national event, exploring and recording the biological diversity of an area against the clock, while getting people of all ages engaged and excited about the wonder of wildlife found so close to home.

The team of Wildscreen volunteers

The team of Wildscreen volunteers

There was an extraordinary variety of walks and events to get involved with, from bat spotting to bug hunting and pond dipping to fungal forays, and our volunteers helped with the lot – but what did being a volunteer actually involve?

Becky – Guide

Becky identifying freshwater invertebrates

Becky identifying freshwater invertebrates

I was one of the Guides for the day which involved helping out the Naturalists as they showed school children and members of the public around on various nature walks. I also had a go at pond dipping and identifying some species helping towards the BioBlitz grand total!

What was your BioBlitz highlight?

My BioBlitz highlight has got to be just the Naturalists in general! Their level of knowledge was just phenomenal yet they were approachable and incredibly entertaining! One of my favourite species, discovered while pond dipping, was the palmate newt, which I’ve never seen before.

Helen – Media Team

Helen with camera at the ready

Helen with camera at the ready

My job was to follow the groups going out and about around the grounds of Tyntesfield with a camera, to film or photograph the things they were finding. We wanted to document everything that was going on, what they were getting involved with and how much fun they were having! I was also involved with editing the film footage into the videos for the blog, and in writing blog posts to keep everyone up to date on the latest BioBlitz happenings.  

What was your BioBlitz highlight?

I got the chance to have my first ever play with the Sony Z1 camera which was very exciting! I filmed a group of school children out looking for nibbled hazelnuts in Truckle Woods. They wanted to find evidence of dormice and although we didn’t see any we came across all sorts of other exciting finds, such as the brilliantly named King Alfred’s cakes.

For a more detailed look at the role of a volunteer and to see what we got up to all weekend why not take a look at our film.

This year the Bristol BioBlitz took place at Tyntesfield from 9am on Friday 20th to 3pm Saturday 21st May. During this 30 hour stint the combined efforts of Guides, Stewards, Naturalists and the all important public led to the discovery of a record-breaking species total of 779! This included 121 notable species, (meaning that they have particular ecological significance), 25 that have never been recorded in North Somerset, and 15 species that have not been seen before in the whole of Avon – quite an achievement I hope you’ll agree.

For a full rundown of all the events of the Bristol BioBlitz, including many more videos and photographs, check out the Bristol BioBlitz blog.

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Media Researcher

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