Come Rain or Shine

Teaching Science Through Agriculture and Place Based Learning

November 02, 2022 USDA Southwest Climate Hub & DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Season 3 Episode 11
Come Rain or Shine
Teaching Science Through Agriculture and Place Based Learning
Show Notes Transcript

Science education is critical in responding to future challenges, both in building awareness in our community and also building the skills to respond to some of our most pressing climate-related challenges, such as drought and water scarcity, wildfire, and food production under climate extremes. In this episode we speak with Dr. Stephanie Bestelmeyer, executive director of Asombro Institute for Science Education in Las Cruces, NM, and Dr. Kristy Ehlers, Director of School Partnerships for El Reno Public Schools and BlueSTEM AgriLearning Center in El Reno, Oklahoma, to learn about how they provide K-12 science education through programs that are grounded in agriculture, the natural world, and place-based learning. Image created using graphics by Kidaha and Venita Oberholster from Pixabay.

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BlueSTEM Agrilearning Center

Free resources from Asombro Institute for Science Education

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[00:00:00] Emile Elias: Welcome to Come Rain or Shine, podcast of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub 

[00:00:05] Sarah LeRoy: and the USGS Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, or Southwest CASC. I'm Sarah LeRoy, Science Applications and Communications Coordinator for the Southwest CASC.

[00:00:17] Emile Elias: And I'm Emile Elias, Director of the Southwest Climate Hub.

[00:00:21] Here we highlight stories to share the most recent advances in climate science, weather, and climate adaptation and innovative practices to support resilient landscapes and communities. 

[00:00:33] Sarah LeRoy: We believe that sharing some of the most innovative forward thinking and creative climate science and adaptation will strengthen our collective ability to respond to even the most challenging impacts of climate change in one of the hottest and driest regions of the world.

[00:00:55] The contents of this podcast are for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as endorsement for any of the products, technologies, or strategies discussed. 

[00:01:07] Science education is critical in responding to future challenges, both in building awareness in our community, and also building the skills to respond to some of our most pressing climate related challenges, such as drought and water scarcity, wildfire, and food production under climate extremes.

[00:01:26] Today we are speaking with two directors with years of experience building scientific awareness via K through 12 education. Dr. Stephanie Bestelmeyer is the Executive Director of Asombro Institute for Science Education, and Dr. Kristy Ehlers is the Director of School Partnerships for El Reno Public Schools and BlueSTEM Agri-Learning Center in El Reno, Oklahoma.

[00:01:51] Both Stephanie and Kristy lead an educational component of the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project, a five year coordinated agricultural project researching novel strategies for enhancing the sustainability of beef production on Southwestern rangelands. Stephanie and Kristy work to provide the next generation of ranchers, farmers, researchers, and consumers with STEM opportunities tied to projects research, agriculture, and the natural world around them.

[00:02:21] Thank you so much for speaking with us today. So Steph, I was wondering if you could just start out and give us a quick overview of Asombro Institute and the programs that you offer there. 

[00:02:32] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yes, thank you, Sarah. The Asombro Institute for Science Education is a 32 year old non-profit based in New Mexico. And our mission is all about increasing science literacy, and we primarily work with kindergarten through 12th grade students or K-12 students.

[00:02:49] We do a lot of different kinds of programs, so we go into classrooms and use the schoolyards and teach science lessons. We take students on field trips to our outdoor classroom, which is called the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park. We do a number of teacher workshops, and we also have some online lessons that educators from all over the world can get onto our website and access so that they can use them with their own students.

[00:03:15] And all told, our educators work directly with about 20,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students each year. And even though there's a lot of variety in the types of programs we offer and the, and the topics we offer, there's really five features that are common through everything we do at Asombro.

[00:03:31] And first is that we do place-based education. So we use the Southwestern United States as the lens by which we teach, and students can learn about all science topics. All of our programs are incredibly hands on because we know that's how everyone learns science best. We focus a lot on data collection, data interpretation, and data communication.

[00:03:53] Because of partnerships, like with the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project, we are able to bring current research projects directly to students. And then finally, we align all of our programs with education standards, and that allows teachers to be able to fit all of our lessons into their already incredibly busy schedule.

[00:04:12] Sarah LeRoy: Kristy, could you give us a quick overview of BlueSTEM and the programs that you offer there? 

[00:04:17] Kristy Ehlers: BlueSTEM AgriLearning Center is a nonprofit that was built and designed by Dr. Jean Steiner when she was the director of the USDA Grazing Lands Research Lab, which is here in El Reno, Oklahoma. 

[00:04:33] And her vision was that we would have a small STEM center, which would teach citizen science to our local community and do field trips for students and such. In her mission, she never dreamed that we would become what we are. And what we are is a partnership with local school districts where our high school students come from different schools in the county and they spend anywhere from four to eight hours a week during the school year at our center. They are studying all manner of agriculture topics and doing research with the USDA scientists and they're getting high school and college credit while they are in our program. 

[00:05:18] During the summer, there are some students who come to work for us as summer interns. During the school year they are coming to class, they're working with this USDA scientists, they are interning in the USDA lab. They're creating science projects for different types of competitions and scholarly affairs. And then we also, in pre pandemic times, we had the opportunity to have outdoor education days where teachers would, and civic groups would bring their students or their constituents to BlueSTEM and we would do all manner of outdoor education opportunities with them. We also have done a plethora of the things with professional development for teachers, and we have had legislators and other government officials come to learn how we can incorporate STEM into the world.

[00:06:14] And what they're finding is that STEM is already incorporated in their world and we're just showing them how to be more cognizant of, of building better future in the the field of agriculture through our STEM center.

[00:06:30] Sarah LeRoy: Excellent. Thank you. And so this next question might seem obvious, but humor me. Why do you think it is important for K through 12 students to learn about agriculture in the classroom?

[00:06:42] Steph Bestelmeyer: That's actually a great question, and as I mentioned, Asombro focuses on place-based education and here in New Mexico, agriculture is one of the principal industries and about 20,000 people here in our state work in agricultural fields. So it's hard to imagine teaching about this place without really encouraging students to learn more about agriculture.

[00:07:05] So these K12 students are gonna be the future ranchers, the future farmers and land managers. So we certainly need to make sure they have the knowledge and the understanding and critical thinking skills that will help them make evidence based decisions for their own livelihoods. And even the students who don't go into agriculture themselves are going to be the future consumers and voters.

[00:07:27] So they're gonna be dealing their whole lives with issues related to agriculture and climate change. And so we need to make sure that they're equipped with those critical thinking skills also, so that they, no matter what challenges they face in the future, they're able to deal with them.

[00:07:43] Sarah LeRoy: Excellent. Kristy, why do you think that it's important for K through 12 students to learn about agriculture in the classroom? 

[00:07:52] Kristy Ehlers: I feel like it's important for students in K12 education to learn about agriculture because they need to learn about the ever increasing population and the ever decreasing land space to produce different types of agricultural products. In our case, we think it's important for students to have a better understanding of food production and distribution and food sustainability, and how to feed an ever growing population with the types of quality food that, and products that agriculture produces.

[00:08:31] Everyone relies on agriculture, whether it's food or fiber or natural resources, employment. We find that agriculture isn't teaching students about how to be a farmer or rancher. It explores and discusses topics that contribute to the world around us. We ultimately affect future scientists, nutritionists, teachers, government officials, environmentalists, lawyers and many more. So we find that combining science, technology, engineering, math, business, social science, economics, teaching and learning about agriculture hits all areas of our lives in societies. We know that our students are not all going to become agriculture producers, but every student and every family

[00:09:16] is already an agricultural consumer, and so we hope that helping students see the agriculture process from soil to seed, to plant to animal, to the table to the bank, empowers the next generation to continue to work toward the sustainability of all types of agriculture.

[00:09:35] Emile Elias: Great, that was a great answer. Steph, you mentioned that your lesson plans are aligned with education standards such as the Next Generation Science Standards.

[00:09:45] Could you explain what that means and how that might look in the classroom? For example, how does a lesson about cow breeds teach students principles of science? 

[00:09:56] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yeah, The Next Generation Science Standards, I'll, I'll talk a little bit about the background of those and then go into the context for our lessons.

[00:10:04] This was a series of standards that were developed by and for states with a lot of scientist input. For example, the National Academies of Science contributed greatly to the foundation of these standards. Currently 20 states, including New Mexico, have adopted these standards in full and 24 additional states have actually used these standards as the framework by which they, they set their own science standards.

[00:10:31] So what that means is that a huge percentage of students all across the US are using Next Generation Science Standards. And the beauty of that is when we develop lessons that are aligned to those standards, it means that they're accessible and useful for, for teachers and students across the US. And you mentioned the example of cow breeds, and this is a great example and it's actually kind of the heart of one of our third grade lessons we've developed, which is called Are You This Cows Herd? 

[00:11:00] So we went to the Next Generation Science Standards and we found a standard that asks that students be able to analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that animals have traits that are inherited from their parents and that there's some variation in those traits within a particular group of organisms.

[00:11:18] So we took that standard and decided, all right, we could apply this to one of the cattle types that's being researched in the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project, and that's the Raramuri Criollo. So we centered the entire lesson around a mystery and it centers around a rancher who finds a cow and needs to figure out what type of cow it is so that he can return the cow to her herd.

[00:11:41] And the way he does this is the students help out and they visit hands on activity stations, where they measure the traits of this lost cow and compare them to the traits, the known traits of these other cattle breeds that are on the other ranches. So they look at things like ear length and hair length, and the height of the cow.

[00:12:01] So students are learning that Next Generation Science Standard. They're accomplishing what they're already supposed to in third grade. They're just doing it in the context of learning about this research project and about agriculture more broadly. And by the way, at the same time students are also reading and writing and measuring and graphing.

[00:12:21] So not only are we covering the science standards, but we also align all of our lessons with language arts and math standards as well. And this is really just one example. We've actually developed 11 lessons for this sustainable Southwest Beef Project and all of them from first grade through high school.

[00:12:37] We go through the same process and make sure that they're aligned very intentionally with those next generation science standards. So they're very usable by teachers.

[00:12:47] Emile Elias: Excellent. Thanks. So that leads perfectly into my next question. So teachers have to teach to these Next Generation Science Standards.

[00:12:54] You've created all of this material that's available for them to do that. And so how do teachers or educators typically find out about your programs? 

[00:13:05] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yeah, that's a great question and we spend a lot of time and effort trying to really get these materials into the hands of teachers. So we do teacher workshops we do a lot of in person teacher workshops all over, primarily in Southern New Mexico.

[00:13:19] And then in the last couple of years, we've also become very adept at doing virtual teacher workshops. And one of the benefits of that is that teachers from all over the country can attend this workshop and we send them materials in advance. So they still have a hands on experience learning about the lesson with us during, during the course of the workshop.

[00:13:39] We participate in lots of teacher conferences where we do workshops and publicize these lessons. And then we have a website where teachers can go to learn all about our lessons as well. And I will say that one of our best methods of disseminating all of our lessons is teachers talking to teachers. So once teachers have done the lessons with their students, see how engaged and excited their, their students are, they are our best marketing and they'll tell their colleagues far and wide about our lessons, which is also a great compliment to us, which we really appreciate. 

[00:14:14] Emile Elias: Excellent. Thanks, Steph. And we will include some links to those lessons in the episode notes for anyone who's listening who wants to find out more and have access to those lessons.

[00:14:24] So Kristy, turning to you. You work primarily with high school students, and what do you see as the value in students learning how to design and conduct their own research project? 

[00:14:37] Kristy Ehlers: Emile, we see a lot of benefit in a lot of traditional and non-traditional ways. For the past seven years that BlueSTEM has been a partner with area schools in central Oklahoma.

[00:14:50] We've been helping students to think out of the traditional education box, using a vast number of partners and resources available to us we teach our students that hands on and minds on experiences better engage both the right and left sides of their brain when inventors and entrepreneurs look for a better or new way of building or improving a product or a process.

[00:15:15] The brain creates better connections and can store more relevant information when both sides are involved. It is kind of interesting to tell a student to use both sides of their brain because they're not familiar with with the brain research, and so we introduce that as well. Our students initially think of their research project as just a glorified science fair experiment where a trifold display board will explain how a plant needs water and light to grow. We ramp up that science fair project to a more in depth and comprehensive research project by actually narrowing a broad topic like growing plants to a more specific set of variables which may or may not affect the short-term and long-term growth of those plants. Or we look at animal nutrition or plant genetics or water quality in multiple areas.

[00:16:10] Or compare growing in an aquaponics versus a hydroponic system or introducing soil amendments in crop production or building a plant pollinator garden for Monarchs and, and honey bees. In all cases with our students, we show them what students who have been in our program before have done. And then ask them, how can you build or adapt on those research projects or what absolutely brand new question can you ask? 

[00:16:43] We teach students to look, to look at the big picture topic, then define the multiple tasks which get to the big picture, but then refine their actual research question. We're teaching students to think of the process as an inverted triangle where the broad topic is at the top, and then as you go down to the fine point of the triangle, you're actually narrowing it down to a specific question. That's the difference between the traditional science fair project that they've done in junior high or high school, and actually a research project. And when our students discover that there's more than one solution to most problems, that's when we know that experiential learning is taking place.

[00:17:32] We tell them that BlueSTEM is a safe place for questioning, tripping, possibly failing and looking for another way. This fall we approached the teaching of research, the research process through the lens of forensic science. We've taught some of the crime scene investigation methods and strategies then bridged that to research and how CSIs or crime scene investigators and their processes and methods are paralleled to research scientists.

[00:18:06] We're fortunate to have research scientists here on the property where BlueSTEM is housed, and so we can get hands on minds on experience with those scientists and say to them, each scientist or CSI collects research or collects data or collects evidence. Each one relies on previous facts and literature reviews to look for possible solutions.

[00:18:32] And each reports exacting details to the appropriate audience, whether that's law enforcement in the case of a CSI, or whether that is an agriculture producer or other people who are stakeholders in agriculture. We are always looking as a teacher to see the aha moment for a student who starts making those connections.

[00:18:58] It's interesting to teach problem solving. When students think that they're already good problem solvers and then they find out that there are a lot more ways to solve a problem than just one way, and that's probably the most rewarding and the most telling aspect of teaching research is when students discover that while one plus one equals two, there are a lot of other ways to get to the answer of 2.

[00:19:30] Emile Elias: Thanks. I really appreciate both the crime investigation or the forensic analysis parallel and also the inverted triangle. And you just mentioned a few of those broad topics sort of at the top in terms of honeybees and, and plants and and genetics. But I wonder if you have an example of that more fine point of a research project that a student has gone through in your program in the past? 

[00:20:00] Kristy Ehlers: Yes, I have a lot of examples of those. Each year our students create through their research projects, an actual research paper and a professional poster. And again, it's it's over a variety of topics. A few of them have been, how does the difference between natural and artificial life affect the biomass of different plants. So students were looking at plants in different light sources. That particular project was judged at an agriscience fair, won the state fair, and then was fifth in the nation. And so that's sort of an added bonus. Another project is the comparison of plant growth between aquaponics systems, hydroponic systems, and a FarmBot system.

[00:20:50] We also have a, had a project called Engineering at Burma Culture System for composting, where those two students developed a worm tower of gigantic proportion in their in their barn. And had more than 5,000 red wiggler worms growing and reproducing and doing what worms do when they eat composted material.

[00:21:17] And we have big time fun talking about compost tea and and about worm poop. There it is. Sorry Emile, that's just the way it is. We also have done a study called a Comparison of Water Chemistry in two stream sites in two different ecosystems where we've collected water in an in town system and we've collected water in an agricultural system.

[00:21:42] And the the studies from that particular from that particular research project actually went to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and ultimately to the EPA as we continue to do studies in those two different stream sites. Another project that was interesting was a tick survey on black legged ticks that can carry anaplasmosis, and that was done in conjunction with the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, where we had a deer hunt on the property that we're on and collected deer ticks from those deer, and then looked at what types of diseases they carry, plus what the, the transferability to the livestock on our property could be. And another one of them that I'll mention is the microbial colony count between human saliva, doorknobs, and toilet bowls and so we were looking at how much bacteria you can find in all of those areas and teaching students where bacteria grows.

[00:24:19] That has sort of morphed into interesting conversation when we've done fingerprinting with our crime scene investigation, because then we have learned all the places that a human hand touches. Not just yours, but other people's as well as other body parts. So I'll stop with that.

[00:24:39] Sarah LeRoy: I don't suppose you wanna share the results of that with us? Maybe we don't want to know.

[00:24:50] Kristy Ehlers: Well, let's just, let's just say that you need to wash your hands and you need to use disinfectant and more disinfectant and, and yes, you just need to watch where you sit and stand and touch. 

[00:25:08] Sarah LeRoy: Understood. Okay, thank you. Those are some very interesting, exciting projects that, that you named. And so I'm wondering, Kristy, do you know, do you happen to know, you know, what your students do after they graduate and whether their experience at BlueSTEM influences their higher education or career decisions that they make?

[00:25:31] Kristy Ehlers: Well, that is a, that's a wonderful question, Sarah. I will say that yes, we do keep in contact with our students. Actually sometimes they never go away. They find that the atmosphere at BlueSTEM is very rewarding and very safe. And I would say that there's not a a week that goes by that I'm not writing a letter of recommendation or editing a scholarship application or a research paper that students are doing in their college classes. We have kept in, in contact with our 100 plus students after their high school graduation. Most of all of our students when they were in high school and in our program were also concurrently enrolled in college courses at the local community college.

[00:26:21] This was a great opportunity for them. Just as a sidebar, because Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers free tuition for high school students who are taking college courses at a state funded college or university. And so many of our students, who have gone on to college are finishing in shorter amount of time and not as big a debt incurred, but we have students who are doing a whole range of things.

[00:26:52] One of our students who was able to work in a plant genetics lab here at the USDA Grazing Lands Research Lab connected with BlueSTEM. Got to do a summer fellowship with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, conducting similar research on the genetics of the Alzheimer's disease. That student is currently in his first year of medical school. We had two students who finished their undergraduate degrees in three years before going to a physician's assistance programs where they're currently studying.

[00:27:24] Several of our students who are in college at this time are studying a wide range of agricultural and non agricultural areas of study such as agribusiness, ag communications, ag education, veterinary pharmaceuticals, marketing and public relations, environmental policy, pre-law, K-12 education, livestock chiropractic, ranch management, real estate development, biosystems engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering, construction management, environmental photography.

[00:28:02] Some of our students have continued in the career and technology education programs toward licenses and certification in ag mechanics and welding. We have many of our students who, who completed associates degrees after they graduated from high school, finished those degrees in one year, then went on to a college and university to finish their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

[00:28:29] It is interesting to note that we have students who were completely set on their college and career paths prior to being in the BlueSTEM program only to decide, wait, that's not what I wanna do. And they have gone on a brand new journey and gone to a different path for their college and career. They have discovered that while they didn't ever raise plants in their home, they want to be in horticulture or what the grand world of vermaculture is and growing worms. This year we are introducing mycology, which is the study of mushrooms. And we have students who are very interested in growing legal mushrooms. And so we have, we have a lot of interest in, in various careers and college and university paths that I do believe we, that the students could count BlueSTEM as influencing their decisions.

[00:29:39] It's just, it's very exciting to hear from them to go to a college graduation to be named as their favorite teacher or teaching program and to see how they're going to make a difference in their world. 

[00:29:56] Sarah LeRoy: Thanks Kristy. It must make it feel very worth it, very worth the time and effort and, and it's great to hear those stories of the students and, and the different careers that they move on to.

[00:30:08] Kristy Ehlers: Sarah, I've been education a really long time and done a lot of things including work in state government and being a superintendent, but this is the best job I've ever had because you see how students learn and you see how they make their own decisions about their lives and and their vulnerability and their willingness to be okay with that.

[00:30:33] Sarah LeRoy: Yep. Yeah, that's great to hear. Steph. Just switching away from agriculture a little bit. So we focused a lot on agriculture-based lessons so far, but Asombro offers many lesson plans on a variety of other topics too. And so I was hoping you could tell us, you know, some about some of these other topics.

[00:30:52] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yes, of course.

[00:30:53] We have many dozens of lessons from kindergarten all the way through high school. We don't have any on worm poop yet, but maybe I'm gonna be inspired by this. We have a, a, a huge topic that we cover in a lot of different ways as climate change. And this is in particular due to our long partnership with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub.

[00:31:16] And that's a topic that we can fit into those Next Generation Science Standards at many different levels. And we don't wanna wait until students are in high school to start really learning about these topics that are, are gonna affect their world. So we also have many lessons on desert ecology, on restoration conservation, energy transformation.

[00:31:38] And so really it's an assortment of life science, earth science, and physical science lessons, depending on what the teachers tell us they need. But again, all of them have those kind of common features that I mentioned earlier. They're all based here on our place that we are lucky enough to call home.

[00:31:55] They're all very much driven by data collection and analysis and communication. And then of course, they're all aligned with standards. 

[00:32:03] Emile Elias: Excellent. Thanks Steph. And yeah, that relationship we've had with Asombro since 2014 has been really incredibly productive in building climate resilience. And so we're really grateful for, for the work that you've done and the units and lessons that you've created over the years.

[00:32:23] So if an educator listening to this podcast wanted to explore some of Asombro's lesson plans and use them to teach in their own classroom, how would they do that? And is there anything else you'd like to share about Asombro in general? 

[00:32:39] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yeah. The best place, the best single place to go to learn more about Asombro and our lessons and our teacher workshops also is at our, on our website, which is

[00:32:49] And we have a particular page you can link to from there called Free Curriculum and Resources. And if educators go onto that page, they can see all of our climate change, a lot of our climate change lessons, a lot of the lessons I mentioned here related to this Sustainable Southwest Beef Project.

[00:33:07] And those are all lessons where we've kind of thought through everything an educator would need to be able to go teach that to their students as, as soon as tomorrow. So they'll find slide decks and teacher's guides, links to videos, student worksheets often in both English and Spanish to meet the many needs of the students in our region.

[00:33:28] So that's probably the best single place to go and find information about us.

[00:33:33] Emile Elias: Excellent. Well, thank you both. We like to end our episodes by asking what gives the people we interview hope, and so this will be a question for both of you. A lot of the times when we're talking to people and often we interview scientists and we hear that the younger generation is what gives them hope for the future, that's a very common response when we ask people that question.

[00:34:00] So given the topic we're discussing today, definitely gives me hope, the, the work that you're doing and the things that you're doing with, with youth, with the young people in our country. But I'm curious to hear about what gives each of you hope. And so let's go ahead and start with Steph. 

[00:34:18] Steph Bestelmeyer: Yes, I am definitely inspired by and have a lot of hope based on working with the younger generation and, and I feel very privileged to have those interactions with students very frequently.

[00:34:31] Just a couple of weeks ago, I had one of many types of great stories to tell. This one just happened, a fifth grader. At the end of the lesson said he had had such a great time learning with us and, and doing science with us, that he was gonna go to the library and look up some more information about science because he wanted to think about getting a job where he could actually do something to protect the earth in the future, in his future.

[00:34:57] So, you know, you have stories like that and you can't help but be hopeful. And I will also mention that I'm also, you know, really inspired by the teachers who work so hard. To make sure that we're equipping this next generation with the skills they're gonna need. We probably can't even imagine the knowledge that they're gonna need, but we certainly can equip them with the skills and those critical thinking skills that will allow them to meet whatever challenges happen to come their way in the future.

[00:35:24] Emile Elias: Excellent. Thank you. Kristy, the same question to you. What gives you hope for the future.

[00:35:30] Kristy Ehlers: Well, Emile, in spite of the pandemic and its major impact on our students' education, I believe that our students have found that learning in different environments, virtually and independently with parents as well as teachers with and without traditional classrooms, has made them more resilient.

[00:35:47] While there may be some content knowledge gaps to fill the out of the box thinking and learning has really been a real world reality. My students are not afraid to learn differently, look at their future differently, ask questions about existing and traditional processes, and challenge themselves to change.

[00:36:06] I look forward to seeing the innovations that our students come up with in agriculture, in their careers, in their family structures, their community involvement with our upcoming generations. I too, as Stephanie mentioned, am really, really hopeful with our students. I might also grab on to something that Steph said earlier about watching teachers talk to other teachers and how excited they get about learning.

[00:36:33] When we have outdoor education days for the younger students, our students are their teachers. We are not the teachers of the, the elementary and middle school students. And so you really find out what people are listening to what our students listen to us and when they parrot back to the younger students what they've learned

[00:37:00] then I know that they really were listening even though they might have had their phone in their hand. 

[00:37:05] Emile Elias: You really do learn by teaching, don't you? All right, Dr. Stephanie Bestelmeyer, Dr. Kristy Ehlers, thank you so much for being here with us and sharing what you do. Running two really important science education programs, nonprofits.

[00:37:23] Thanks for being here.

[00:37:26] Thanks for listening to Come Rain or Shine, podcast of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub 

[00:37:31] Sarah LeRoy: and the USGS Southwest CASC. If you liked this podcast, don't forget to rate or review it and subscribe for more great episodes. A special thanks to our production crew, Skye Aney and Reanna Burnett.

[00:37:45] If you want more information, have any questions for the speakers or would like to offer feedback, please reach out to us via our websites.