Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for Maggie Daley

Former Chicago First Lady and After School Matters Founder and Chair Maggie Daley died today at the age of 68, after a battle with breast cancer diagnosed in 2002.
I am grateful for Maggie's efforts to engage and inspire teenagers. I am grateful that after school mattered to her; for her commitment to Chicago's youth. And I am grateful for the opportunities her dedication afforded: to work with some amazing teenagers via informal science education.

Photo of a visit from First Lady Maggie Daley and Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel to our After School Matters' Science Squad on March 31, 2011.

My sincere condolences go out to her family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Pine Cone Turkeys!

It's Thanksgiving!

In the midst of cooking turkeys and tofu, smashing potatoes, opening cans of cranberry sauce with the ridges on the jellied-cylinder, drizzling honey on cornbread, baking pumpkins into pie, and opening the wine might be thinking "with all the thanks for all this food grown from the Earth, how could I possibly connect to nature any more?!?"

How could you possibly not find more ways to connect to nature!?! Tis the season when plants sprinkle the landscape with their seeds, and evergreen trees (conifers) drop cones (their reproductive organs). I think pine cones are one of the perfect natural treasures to collect while out and about.

With a pine cone, pipe-cleaners, small objects for eyes, some glue, your imagination, and the inspiration pictured (and the kids in your life) can connect a little more to nature with a teeny-tiny turkey!

Turkeys pictured were made today by some of the creative and inspiring teen Ambassadors of Urban Wilderness that I work with in an After School Matters' science program in Chicago.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Learn to love science. Or at the very least, learn to appreciate it.

So many of us, even I, struggle with science (and math). This can leave us disliking, even hating, science. Science is hard. But luckily for us: we all think like scientists to manage life's challenges, we're all inherently curious, & this sets all of us up to master scientific concepts. If you, or someone you know is struggling to master science, you might feel like your inherent curiosity can't help you. Maybe you feel like you couldn't tap into this resource if you knew where to find it.

Maybe you're a parent who'd like to foster positive interactions between your child & the natural world but you feel overwhelmed by all the other nurturing you do. You may even feel you're not equipped to effectively connect your children to nature in our built-up world.

This is where I come in.

I am enthusiastic about connecting students of all types to science & nature; to foster their intrinsic curiosity; to inspire them to overcome obstacles in their learning process; and to creatively link concepts to their collected knowledge. I'm dedicated to strengthening scientific literacy and fostering positive connections with science & nature. I developed “Learn To Love Science; Biology Tutoring & Science Camps" for biology students of all ages in need of tutoring as well as science camps (and birthday parties) for junior scientists from age four to eleven.

I truly believe that every student is a scientist & in strengthening scientific literacy & fostering positive connections with nature! Welcome to my new blog, come back to read about teaching science; life in & after graduate school; volunteering in a play zoo; science camp updates; and inspiring ways to connect to the natural world for you & your family!