NCEAS is committed to increasing the public understanding of science, to fostering interest in ecology and technology professions, particularly among underrepresented groups, and to contributing to the local community. To meet these goals, NCEAS offers a variety of education and outreach activities--to scientists and to the public.
NCEAS initiatives also include education and training programs at all levels of sophistication, from elementary school through undergraduate and graduate studies, to continuing education of professional scientists.
Community Outreach/Collaboration | Education and Training | Diversity Initiatives
The Summer Institute is a a three-week intensive training workshop in ecological analysis and synthesis for early-career researchers. Participants receive hands-on guided experience using best practices in the technical aspects that underlie successful synthesis – from data discovery and integration to analysis and visualization, and special techniques for collaborative scientific research. The course will weave together several core themes via a mixture of lectures, discussions, and exercises; these themes will be further reinforced -- and injected into the real-time synthetic scientific research process -- through daily work on group projects.
NCEAS’ commitment to furthering the public understanding of science includes communication initiatives and a variety of other activities.
NCEAS communication initiatives address the need to explain ecological issues, research, and solutions to the public, policy makers, and resource managers in order to enable informed decision making at all levels. Therefore, NCEAS provides media training for our scientists, publicizes our scientists' research activities to the press and on the NCEAS website in the news archive and featured summaries of research underway, and collaborates with other organizations, such as Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), and the California Ocean Communicators Alliance to promote effective communication of science to the public.
The Center and its scientists participate in the broader community by:
- Sponsoring public outreach events such as the recent Jellyfish ROCK: Reaching Out to Community & Kids at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
- Giving talks and seminars, including weekly Roundtable discussions by resident or visiting scientists
- Sponsoring an NCEAS Ecology Award at the annual Santa Barbara County Science Fair.
- Providing elementary school students hands-on experiences in science
- Sponsoring community events such as the annual Kids do Ecology Poster Session
- Partnering with local organizations such as the Santa Barbara Educators' Roundtable and the Santa Barbara Elementary School District
One of the major benefits of the collaborative synthetic approach pioneered by NCEAS is the engagement of college students and young career scientists.
- NCEAS Summer Institute is a three-week intensive training workshop in ecological analysis and synthesis for early-career researchers that offers participants hands-on experience using best practices in the technical aspects that underlie successful synthesis.
- NCEAS provides collaborative research experience to undergraduates through the Center's Synthetic Undergraduate Networks for Analyzing Ecological Data.
- NCEAS engages graduate students as interns and as part of research working groups, including more than 700 students who have participated in Distributed Graduate Seminars.
- NCEAS’ collaboration with the Henry Luce Foundation in the Luce Environmental Science to Solutions Fellowship Program allows selected Ph.D. scholars to carry out multi-disciplinary research on environmental issues under the guidance of experienced scientist mentors at NCEAS and UCSB.
- For post-graduate resident scientists, NCEAS training programs promote professional development as well as technical capabilities through training in the use of the latest Ecoinformatics tools.
- NCEAS also participates in ecoinformatics training of junior and senior scientists in workshops with external collaborators such as the LTER Network Office.
NCEAS' Kids Do Ecology (KDE) program has been our primary means of outreach to K-12 students since 1995. KDE includes two major initiatives:
- A classroom program in which NCEAS scientists work locally with 5th grade classes to provide inquiry-based instruction in the scientific method as applied to ecological questions. This experiential approach to learning provides a perfect complement to the educational goals of NCEAS. The classroom program continues to be very successful.
A nationally recognized, educational, participatory, bilingual (Spanish/English) website. Our website has received numerous commendations and is linked from educational sites throughout the world.
NCEAS scientists and outreach staff actively introduce underrepresented students to careers in ecology and informatics through conference presentations, seminars at historically minority institutions and minority-serving institutions, and local work at the K-12 level.
NCEAS also co-sponsors activities, such as mentoring sessions and career panels, to promote careers in ecology and evolution at the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
NCEAS also promotes the diverse participantion in research activities by expecting NCEAS-supported projects to actively include women and members of underrepresented communities.