I am surprised that it is already the end of September. It didn't feel too long ago when I added Phipps Conservatory Science Engagement Weekend to my calendar. Now that this weekend has come and gone, I want to reflect on some of meaningful experiences from my time in Pittsburgh.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is similar to a museum in that it houses and displays plants from around the world, but offers so much more than just botanical displays. I have been visiting Phipps since I have been younger and have become more aware of the Conservatory's efforts towards creating conversations about sustainable living and fostering scientific engagement in members and visitors of all ages. This year, I was lucky enough to represent Phipps as a Botany in Action fellow (BIA). After spending my summer in Colorado researching wildflower populations, I had the opportunity to visit Phipps in Pittsburgh and talk about my research and learn important skills for scientific outreach in the future.
One of our activities over the weekend was called "Eco-Challenge." Middle and high school aged students from all over Pittsburgh (and my Alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School!) came to Phipps to participate in activities focusing on sustainable practices. One of their activities included a meet and greet with the BIA scientists. The students split up into small groups, asked us questions about our research, and heard what it is like to be a scientist. This was really exciting for me, because my middle and high school teachers who forced me to do science fair experiments are a major part of my journey to becoming a scientist. After speaking with the students, they created posters representing our research interests. We each picked our favorite poster (although it was so difficult) to display at our tabling event at Phipps the next day. I have some examples pictured below. The students are quite talented!
After the weekend ended, I was exhausted. We not only participated in the Eco-Challenge, but toured the greenhouses and conservatory, met with board members and a number of really wonderful staff members, and completed many workshops about how to effectively communicate our science. I am so grateful for those who made this weekend possible and I am looking forward to maintaining friendships that I made!
About this blog:
I created this blog as part of the Phipps Botany in Action Program, 2015 - 2017