Social Science • Qualitative Research • Environmental Education • Citizen Science
I conduct social science research focused on environmental education and citizen science, as well as coordinate community-based outreach initiatives involving educators, youth, bird guides, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, in Latin America. I helped create the Lab’s BirdSleuth International curriculum, which engages students in learning about birds, habitat, citizen science, and conservation. After conducting the first field test of the curriculum in Costa Rica in 2009, I’ve been expanding the reach of BirdSleuth International by teaching workshops about it in multiple countries, as well as investigating how the curriculum impacts youth participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with respect to birds, science, and the environment.
I’m passionate about using environmental education and citizen science to inspire kids to care for and take action on behalf of our planet. Birds are found in so many diverse habitats, both rural and urban, which makes them a powerful tool for connecting individuals to their local environment. I’m fascinated by questions of how we can best inspire youth to get excited about the birds around them, to consider them “the ornaments of the forest‚” as one young indigenous woman in Guatemala put it, and to relinquish the slingshots they may have once used to kill birds for fun. I fell in love with Costa Rica on my first trip in 2003, and since then I have seized or created every opportunity to explore more of Latin America, collaborate more with the region’s incredible people, see more of its amazing birds, and learn more of its beautiful languages. The work I do for the Lab allows me to pursue all of these passions.
Ph.D., Natural Resources, Cornell University
M.S., Environmental Studies, York University