Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Community, Conservation & Citizen Science - Page 7

Susan Rauchwerk, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Elementary Education, Lesley Graduate School of Education, will serve as the A. J. & M. D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust Educator-in- Residence in year one. with educational materials and new programs; and engage the public through tours and citizen science initiatives. “Lesley’s approach to urban ecology is in step with the latest strategies of educating people about their local environment,” says Associate Professor Dave Morimoto, who is currently writing a book on human interactions with the natural environment. “In the past, researchers were focused on cities and pristine environments exclusive of each other, but now, more researchers are looking at both together. With 80 percent of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, places such as Mount Auburn offer us the opportunity to learn more about how to sustain a healthy ecosystem for both people and wildlife.” In support of both the Friends of Mount Auburn’s Wildlife Action Plan and their educational mission, the grant has established the A. J. & M. D. Ruggiero Memorial Educator-in-Residence position for a two-part project, covering education and public outreach related to the environment and conservation on the one side, and specific initiatives in the Wildlife Action Plan and urban ecology on the other. Associate Professor Susan Rauchwerk, who specializes in informal science education and research, is currently serving as the first Educator- in-Residence. She is working in collaboration with staff members Jessica Bussmann, Director of Education & Visitor Services, and Bree Harvey, Vice President of Cemetery & Visitors Services, to develop programs that will best support and expand Mount Auburn’s education efforts. So far, Lesley University scientists and education researchers have met and reviewed existing research projects with Paul Kwiatkowski, Mount Auburn’s Wildlife Conservation & Sustainability Manager, to create an overarching plan for the Cemetery with team partnerships of site-specific scientists, educators, and community interest groups. Rauchwerk participated in a spotted-salamander data collection event and piloted her first educational materials and approaches with sixteen students from the Wonder Lab program at Lesley in April (www.lesley. edu/#WonderLab). In her curriculum, student participants in grades 1 to 6 will research sites, learn about data collection and research protocols, try out sampling techniques, meet with researchers, and observe live amphibian and reptile species. Education outcomes from this session will guide the development of a six-day summer program that will be offered to Wonder Lab students in late August 2017. Several other groups will be participating in new programs at the Cemetery in the coming year as well. Beginning in the summer of 2017 and continuing for the next two years, staff and participants from STEAM Beans will serve as education consultants piloting a variety of activities. An educational program for young African American girls and their families (www. steambeans.org), STEAM Beans is an informal science, technology, education, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) program that runs every other weekend during the school year and once per month each summer, beginning in first grade with a group of ten children and their families and continuing through fifth grade. Sheila Johnson, the STEAM Beans director and founder, will provide input into the development of a fully inclusive program that includes family and community. “Mount Auburn is unique as it offers a rich cultural history that sustains the stories of African Americans and women scientists who are resting here,” says Rauchwerk. “The cemetery offers multiple ways to engage visitors in learning about diversity and about relationships between humans and their local environment. STEAM Beans will provide critical insight and perspective in establishing opportunities Albert Liau, Assistant Professor, Biology, Lesley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will te st the air quality and measure physical features such as microclimate variation. 2017 Volume 2 | 5