In February, STEMCAP visited Salt Lake Valley Youth Center to present on Biodeversity Loss as a part of our Mission STEMCAP series. Six students joined us over eight days.

We introduced the topic to students on day one – defining the term “environmental grand challenge” and the relationship of biodiversity loss to the other Grand Challenges. Students were asked how sustainability (or our ability to continue using resources without running out) and biodiversity relate, and how we might help others see that importance and care about protecting biodiversity. Students watched the film Racing Extinction, engaging with international conservation topics.

Austin Green from the University of Utah and the Wasatch Wildlife Watch. His work engages citizen scientists to document wildlife biodiversity in Utah. He is hopeful to create a conversation about the impacts of urban populations on nearby natural habitats, and especially determining how we can prevent the current rapid population growth on the Wasatch front from harming local habitats and ecosystems. The students were particularly engaged with Austin’s

Annie Burbidge-Ream and Katie Seastrand from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts joined us for two days for a virtual museum tour and for a crafting workshop making thaumatropes. They brought the students up close to several artworks, asking how they might translate the artistic intent through the lens of biodiversity loss and other environmental challenges.

In the last two presentations, STEMCAP staff spoke with students about how to talk about biodiversity loss and environmental challenges. They created PSAs to practice breaking down key messages that they wanted to communicate. We reviewed the different topics discussed over the previous two weeks and shared the artwork that they made.

 

Student's thaumatrope artwork. The circular pieces of cardstock have an image on either side and a stick out the bottom - like a lollipop. When the stick is spun between one's hands, the two images seem to blend into one image, or to compliment one another.

Student’s thaumatrope artwork. The circular pieces of cardstock have an image on either side and a stick out the bottom – like a lollipop. When the stick is spun between one’s hands, the two images seem to blend into one image or to compliment one another.

Student's made PSAs to practice communicating about environmental challenges

 

Students created PSAs to practice breaking down messages they wanted to communicate about Biodiversity Loss.

 

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