Seacoast Youth Services: Building & Sustaining a Positive Youth Development Center
Rick Alleva, 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, UNH Cooperative Extension
UNH Cooperative Extension (UNHCE) partnered with Seacoast Youth Services (SYS), a non-profit community organization in the town of Seabrook, to establish and support a positive youth development center in the lower seacoast area of New Hampshire. A mutual beneficial relationship between UNHCE and SYS has included the provision of quality youth programs, diverse youth and family involvement, hands-on internship placements, federal and local grant support, national conference participation, workshop presentations, and a growing community-based coalition with UNH as a primary partner with local community agencies. Since the project’s initiation in 2003, Rick’s role has involved a diversity of tasks, including program design/logic model development, best practice demonstration programming, staff training and supervision, mobilization of and connection with UNH and other resources, local/national grant development, program evaluation/reporting, and other technical assistance. Rick is now focused on sustainability and further documenting and sharing this experience. Additionally, he is looking forward to submitting this project for recognition and publication as a national 4-H Program of Distinction the close of this year, and also plans to pursue academic/professional publication of the program.
Environmental Sciences Teacher Training Program in Central America
Serita Frey, Department of Natural Resources, Associate Professor, COLSA
The long-term goal of Serita’s project is to develop a teacher training program in environmental sciences for upper elementary and/or middle school teachers in Central America. Specific project goals are to 1) provide instruction on environmental sciences, with an emphasis on soil and water quality, 2) provide training on hypothesis testing, experimental design, and sample collection and analysis, and 3) assist teachers with implementing environmental science in their classrooms. Serita has received project funding and will spend three months of her sabbatical during the 2008-2009 academic year conducting a needs assessment in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Once the needs assessment has been completed, Serita plans to use these data to seek external grant funding to initiate and implement the program over the next few years. She anticipates that when fully implemented this program will increase the science education opportunities for K-12 teachers and students in Central America.
Inside-Out – GeoAdventures from Science Centers to Watersheds
J. Ruairidh (Ru) Morrison, Ocean Process Analysis Lab, Research Assistant Professor, EOS
Together with the Seacoast Science Center, Rye NH, and regional partners, Ru’s project team is working to build networks of Informal Science Education (ISE) Centers and UNH Researchers. The goal is to increase public understanding and stewardship of natural resources in coastal watersheds expanding the work of the SSC and UNH. Self-guided family-focused GeoAdventures guidebooks will lead individuals and families to key watershed features. Interactive web-based planning and reporting activities will foster family learning. The efforts will be guided an advisory group of core UNH faculty involved in all aspects of watershed research as well as specialized faculty as needed. In years 3 and 4 the team will transfer GeoAdventures to two other regions nationally forming a national network in year 5. The collaborations established will be mutually beneficial wherescience center content will be enriched and enabled knowledge produced university research. The work will advance and is aligned with the UNH Academic Strategic Plan goal of Engagement and Outreach.
The Redevelopment of the Mill Plaza
Neil Niman, Department of Economics, Associate Professor, PAUL
The goal of Neil's project is to see the successful redevelopment of the Mill Plaza in a way that benefits the citizens of Durham, New Hampshire beyond the projected tax benefits that a more intensive use of the land will create. The fundamental research question is whether or not the creation of a new anchor for the downtown will be sufficient to initiate a broader redevelopment effort that will encompass the entire downtown. Neil will be intensely involved in the conceptualization of a plan, the calculation of the public and private benefits associated with the redevelopment, and the creation of the requisite financing plan that will be required in order to bring the project to fruition.
Changing Homeowner’s Lawn Care Behavior to Reduce Nutrient Inputs in Urbanizing Watersheds
Julia Peterson, Water Quality/NH Sea Grant Extension Professor, UNH Cooperative Extension/COLSA
Julia’s project is an integrated, interdisciplinary, multi-state project that is applying environmental and behavioral research results to Extension efforts to reduce the application of excess nutrients on turf homeowners (do-it-yourselfers, or DIYs) in targeted, urbanizing neighborhoods throughout New England with the ultimate goal of protecting surface and groundwater quality. The goal is to reduce nutrient runoff from residential properties in urbanizing watersheds and the expected impact will be to increase neighborhood residents’ knowledge about environmentally friendly lawn care practices, and their willingness to adopt a few of those practices. The project involves several primary components: environmental research, social science research, Extension educational objectives. The outreach evaluation component will lend itself to scholarly opportunities as Julia’s team addresses the question, “Was our outreach effective at changing the knowledge and attitudes of opinion leaders and DIYers?” with a particular interest in whether or not the outreach design benefited from the social science foundation.
Building a Student Scholarship Program in the STEM Disciplines at UNH Manchester
Mihaela Sabin, Division of Science and Technology, Assistant Professor, UNH-Manchester
The Division of Science and Technology at UNH Manchester is interested in applying for a NSF grant that supports a scholarship program for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Faculty in the Biology, Computer Information Systems, Engineering Technology, and Mathematics programs will work closely with the UNH Manchester admissions, financial aid, and student services offices to establish a partnership with other local stakeholders in STEM education. The project’s target audience is high school juniors and seniors and STEM majors in two-year community colleges in the Greater Manchester area. Mihaela’s team envisions establishing a partnership that bridges two important New Hampshire programs: the New Hampshire Scholars and the 55% Initiative. The NH Scholars program is a collaborative effort involving area business and school volunteers who encourage and motivate high school students to complete a more rigorous academic course of study. The 55% Initiative, launched the University System of New Hampshire in January 2007, calls for promoting New Hampshire to future college graduates. This project’s intent is to build a STEM student scholarship program which will leverage the incentives the NH Scholars program presents to high school students. The 55% Initiative will promote Mihaela’s program to the partnering local organizations and facilitate participation in the student support structures the program will offer. In this effort, the team shares the goal of graduating well educated and skilled candidates for employment in science and technology areas in the state of New Hampshire. The expected outcome of this project is the awarding of the NSF S-STEM grant for four scholarship years and an initial one-year planning period.
Building a PicturePost Network to take Citizen Science to a New Level
Annette Schloss, Complex Systems Research Center, Research Scientist, EOS
Annette is currently participating in a NASA-funded education project, Measuring Vegetation Health, a collaboration of seven institutions led the Museum of Science in Boston. The PicturePost system was developed as part of that project, which is ending in 2009. PicturePost enables the taking of photographs repeatedly from the same location and sharing them over the Internet. The concept has generated a lot of enthusiasm among citizen groups, schools, researchers and informal science centers. PicturePost can provide a wealth of information and data to monitor changing environmental conditions, which is critical for a society grappling with the effects of climate change. Annette’s project will build on the PicturePost concept pilot-testing a post at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH. Lessons learned from the pilot will inform the growth and development of a national, or possibly global, PicturePost Network. She envisions that the Network will take citizen science to a new level. It will empower citizens to observe and understand changes in their local environment and offer them a social network over the Internet that fosters the communication and knowledge that leads to action. The work Annette is proposing connects to the outreach mission of UNH bringing together scientists and informal educators in a joint effort to increase scientific literacy in the public and serves the greater good engaging citizens in an accessible and interesting science-based activity that serves important Earth system science research and connects them to a larger community through the Internet.