Jul 3

silverdocs logoThe Discovery Channel and the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, recently hosted their ninth annual Silverdocs Film Festival, screening the best documentaries around the world to over 27,000 attendees. Simultaneously, a 5-day conference is held that promotes documentary film as a leading art and educational form, supporting the work of independent filmmakers and fostering an atmosphere for public dialogue and civic engagement around the issues and ideas explored in the films.

The ARKive team was invited to participate on a “Schooldocs” panel called Where to Get Web Content Fast and Ready for Your Lessons, moderated by Kelly Denson, Director of STEM Outreach and Education Policy for Discovery Education. Schooldocs is the educational off-shoot of Silverdocs, emphasizing the use of media and technology in the curriculum and this  was ARKive’s 3rd year participating.

Liana Vitali, ARKive‘s Science, Education and Outreach Officer in the USA, was joined by two other panelists: Donelle Blubaugh, Director of Education at PBS and William McDonald, Director of Curriculum Development, Science and Mathematics at Discovery Education.

Photo of Liana Vitali, ARKive‘s Science, Education and Outreach Officer in the USA

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer at Wildscreen USA, responding to a question from Kelly Denson, Discovery Education, at Schooldocs

The room was full of eager teachers and educators from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, wanting to soak up the free resources that are available online. Liana warmed up the crowd by playing ARKive’s promotional video with Sir David Attenborough and at the end of her presentation, some teachers were already exploring ARKive on their iPads!

For further information on Silverdocs visit: http://silverdocs.com/

Shelley Alingas, Wildscreen USA’s Program Assistant

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


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


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