A year in review: Education and outreach in 2017

February 2, 2018
CAPS director Dr. Jay Hollick at West Fest

The Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC) and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS) work together to support a variety of education and outreach initiatives each year. The goal of these activities is to raise awareness about the important role plants play in our lives, and to promote plant science in K-12 education and throughout the community. These efforts, which are coordinated by the ABRC/CAPS Education and Outreach Specialist, bring together faculty, staff and graduate students to facilitate programs throughout Central Ohio and beyond. The number of people reached by our education efforts, and the variety of schools and organizations with which we partner continues to grow on an annual basis.

ABRC and CAPS are proud to announce that our 2017 education and outreach programs reached over 4,000 people. This includes more than 3,300 members of the community, 211 teachers, and 475 K-12 students. Throughout the year, we provided programming to six different school districts, and partnered with community organizations such as COSI and the Franklin Park Conservatory. We shared our education resources with researchers at the International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, and with educators at COSI’s Teacher Resource Fair, and as a part of the OSU course Science Methods for Preservice Middle Childhood Teachers (EDUTL 5275).

A middle school student observes plants under a microscope during a field trip

In addition to taking our education programs on the road to local schools and community events, ABRC and CAPS participates in a number of initiatives on campus. Each year we include a poster highlighting our programs in the OSU Engagement Forum. This year included an exciting addition to STEM outreach on campus, with the creation of the OSU West Campus Science and Technology Festival, more commonly referred to as WestFest. ABRC and CAPS, along with the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, and the Office of Energy and Environment came together to organize this festival to engage the community in STEM learning while showcasing scientific research and innovations in technology across campus and throughout the community. Representatives from a number of units across campus, as well as a few community partners, participated in the event by providing hands-on activities, demonstrations and facility tours to more than 400 attendees.

Staff and students investigate root nodules on soybean plants treated with beneficial bacteria.

ABRC and CAPS look forward to sharing plant science education with students, teachers and the general public in 2018 and beyond. Keep an eye on our website for a calendar of upcoming education and outreach events. Contact us if you are interested in having ABRC and CAPS visit your school or participate in your community event.