Getting kids interested in science can be as easy as going to their own back yard. A field trip to the Sonoran Desert is right outside.
The Junior Citizens Science Festival teaches kids about the Sonoran Dessert. Monica Tluczek, McDowell Sonoran Field Institute, explains the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is a non-profit working with the City of Scottsdale to manage and maintain the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The festival is an opportunity for citizen scientists and conservancy volunteers to share their love of and knowledge of the desert with the kids. Tables with archelogy, reptiles and amphibians and raptors along with activities are part of the experience. The kids are given a notebook and complete activities through the day, recording their observations in the same way naturalists and scientists make notes.
The event helps to expand STEM education. Much of what is being done is confined to classrooms and laboratories. The festival gets kids outdoors and offers a different setting and experience. The tables and booths draw the kids in and they are interacting, problem solving, learning about and appreciating the Sonoran Desert.
The junior citizens had their favorite activities; birds and nests, frogs and snakes, and even examining animal scat. Well, what did you expect from junior scientists?