BEMP/LTER Schoolyard Simposio Virtual (Virtual Symposium)
On May 17th, 2016 Spanish-speaking students from seven schools in New Mexico and Puerto Rico gathered to share (en Español!) their scientific discoveries after a year of monitoring their local bosques (forests). Students in Puerto Rico worked with the Luquillo Long Term Ecological Research Schoolyard program to study environmental issues like cactus die-off, heavy metal and PCB contamination of water systems and soil characteristics across tropical ecotones. New Mexico BEMP students, in collaboration with the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Schoolyard program, presented their studies on Rio Grande bosque monthly monitoring, bear populations in the Sandias, chytrid fungus in amphibians of the Chama River and lizard populations along the riparian forest trails. The New Mexico BEMPers hailed from Bosque School, Albuquerque Academy, and La Academia de Esperanza. The presentations and follow up questions were all done in Spanish, showing how the exchange of scientific discoveries can happen across cultural, political, and language boundaries.
Bosque School’s 2016-2017 Heritage Spanish Language students and their teachers, Sra Rekow and Sra Gleason, joined the Virtual Symposium to see the types of projects and exchanges they might have the opportunity to participation in next year.
So often in citizen science, volunteers collect valuable data but don’t always have a chance to disseminate their findings with other citizen science researchers and volunteers. This Virtual Symposium/Simposio Virtual puts student research at the forefront and challenges students not only to present their scientific research but to do so in another language.
We are so grateful and proud of our multi-lingual participants in New Mexico and Puerto Rico! A special thanks to Noelia Báez Rodríguez from Schoolyard PR and Kristen Weil from BEMP.