Education and Outreach
Though the Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN) was originally founded as a data sharing collaboration, it also provides ample opportunity for education initiatives. The network aims to instill an atmosphere of shared learning through citizen science projects, educational programming, and outreach that connects communities to their local wildlife. Each UWIN partner can choose if and how much they incorporate education and outreach into their study. Currently, partners use UWIN data in a variety of outreach projects, ranging from undergraduate coursework, to camps for middle schoolers, to adult education series. As a member of UWIN, you will get access to our repository of data-driven educational programming and resources for a variety of age groups. Educational material intended for K-12 audiences follow Next Generation Science Standards, with a few exceptions. We aim to foster diversity and inclusion within the sciences through hands-on experiences and leadership opportunities.
Our objective is to get UWIN research techniques, processes, and findings out to the general public in hope of fostering a greater appreciation for urban wildlife.
Select Lincoln Park Zoo Programs
Partners in Fieldwork (Grades 9-12)
Partners in Fieldwork is a year-long program that engages high school youth in Lincoln Park Zoo research projects. Students work with their teachers to collect data on local wildlife at their school using the same non- invasive techniques researchers use, including camera traps, bird surveys, and acoustic bat monitors. Teachers and students receive all of the training needed to successfully participate in the program. This includes two teacher professional development workshops, four school site visits, two field trips, and a final event where select students present their findings to family members, zoo researchers, and other participating schools. Students gather and enter data year round and the teacher serves as the point of contact for program leads. The data collected is included in Lincoln Park Zoo’s UWIN dataset.
Young Researchers Collaborative (Grades 6-8)
The Young Researchers Collaborative is a nine-month program that supports educators in making inquiry-based science a key component of classroom curriculum. During two Lincoln Park Zoo field trips, students use the Creating Young Researchers app for ecology studies and the Observe to Learn app to fill out ethograms recording animal behavior observations. This behavioral observation model can be replicated in non-zoo settings by creating custom ethograms to record behavior of local wildlife (e.g. squirrels) or household members (e.g. pets or even other humans). Both apps are available for free in the app store for Apple devices, and are available in 5 languages. Students then return to the classroom to conduct research projects or scientific experiments based on behavioral observations. Students then present their experiment in a science fair format for select board members and zoo staff.
Chicago Wildlife Watch (All Ages)
Chicago Wildlife Watch (found at www.chicagowildlifewatch.org), allows members of the public to ID photographs collected by UWIN camera traps in Chicago. This site is run through a citizen science platform, Zooniverse, and is available for all UWIN partners to use. Members of the public simply sign on, get a brief introduction of the research and task, and can then view and tag photos.