Annual Conference

Thank You, New Braunfels! Good Night!

A huge thanks to everyone who attended and presented at the 2017 ISEA Conference at T Bar M Retreat in New Braunfels, Texas. Between celebrating our 20th Anniversary as an organization, rolling out a new mission statement, and karaoke it was the most rockin’ ISEA conference yet!

Here’s a run down of the great presentations and workshops from the 20th Annual Conference:

Keynote Speaker: José González, Founder, Latino Outdoors

José González is an experienced educator in formal and informal education settings with an array of associated interests in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment. He has broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. His teaching credential coursework was at the Bilingual Multicultural Education Department at California State University, Sacramento.

In his capacity developing Latino Outdoors, José looks forward to opportunities and collaborating with organizations seeking to diversify their outdoor and conservation programs. He is available for trainings, workshops, and speaking engagements around these topics.

Featured Speaker: Charles Walter, Director, Mayborn Museum, Baylor University

Charlie is the Director of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas. He has been involved with museums for more than 30 years and has spent the past two decades in executive positions at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and the San Antonio Children’s Museum. He secured his first museum position as the visitor services manager at the Fort Worth Museum in 1986 and advanced through multiple positions, ending his tenure as executive vice president for programs with oversight of exhibitions, collections, theater, planetarium and public programs. He was a senior member of the team that developed and opened the new museum facility in 2009. Charlie is a founding member of the ISEA organization, a strategic thinker, and a nationally respected thought leader in the museum field.


Session Title Presenter(s) Session Description
Getting Kids Interested in Science Through Service Jennifer Himstedt, Little Helping Hands, & Audrey Stewart, Treefolks
Learn about how Little Helping Hands and Treefolks are teaming up to help spark kids’ interest in environmental science by going outside and learning through service.

Joanne Baptista & DeAndra Ramsey, Houston Zoo

Going where no zoo has gone before! From teachers to students of all ages, the Houston Zoo is developing new and innovative programming that will bridge the gap between the formal and informal sectors. Come on our journey where we are creating empathy and connecting classrooms to the natural world.
Light and Spectroscopy – Astronomy Tools of the Trade in the Informal Learning Space

Keely Finkelstein & Marc Wetzel, McDonald Observatory

Spectroscopy is an important tool used in astronomy and other sciences. We’ll make a DIY spectroscope with everyday materials, examine different household light sources, and do a hands-on activity. Learn how astronomers study spectra and how this can be extended into an informal science learning space.
ISEA Education Committee: Improve collaboration and increase the use of quality program evaluation  

Johnnie Smith, & Todd DeWitt, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Plan to attend this meeting to discuss and explore initiatives to improve formal and informal educator collaboration through the STEM Collaborative Integrating Formal and Informal Education–SCI-FIE, and to increase the number and quality of program evaluations among ISEA member organizations.
How to successfully increase participation of underrepresented students in STEM outreach programs Dawn Hunter, Texas Advanced Computing Center

In this session, we will discuss recruitment and selection practices for capturing underrepresented students, as well as how transportation and family responsibility can impact their participation.
Creating an inclusive experience for visitors with disabilities:

Sarah Coles, Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, & Susan Rowe, Lubbock Lake Landmark
As the numbers of people with disabilities in the US is growing, and more families are looking for ASD friendly activities informal science educators are facing a new programming challenge. Join this session to learn more about how to create fun new programming for this growing community.
May the Forest (Literacy) Be With You: A Framework for Educating Texas’ K-12 Students About Forests Misty Bowie, Texas Project Learning Tree
Because we depend profoundly on our rural and urban forests, Texans must play an active role in ensuring their sustainability. The Texas Forest Literacy Plan is designed to help K-12 educators provide students with a comprehensive education about forests. Join us for an interactive look at the Plan.
Leveraging After School Science Clubs to Improve Learning Options for Students and Educators Alan Small, Texas Partnership for Out of School Time
Alan Small, author of The Science Club Handbook, will present nuts and bolts strategies needed to establish after school Science Club programs. Quality Science Clubs provide students with access to an inviting learning space while supporting the core values and mission of your organization.
Nature Play and You: Incorporating Nature Play into Your Programs Anna Lewis, Dallas Zoo and Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

Ever wondered what nature play is, or how to incorporate nature play into your programs? In this session, we will learn why nature play is important and different activities you can bring back to your organization, along with tips to train your staff on how to work with children in nature play.
Leveraging Effective Formal/Informal Partnerships: Meeting Teacher, Student, Institutional and Funder Needs Lucy Hale, Trinity River Audubon Center, Gretchen Pollom, Perot Museum of Nature and Science/The Lamplighter School, Dustin Miller, Dallas Arboretum, & Theresa Coble, UMSL Effective partnerships require active participation by all parties involved, but they also require that each partner gains value from the relationship. Join us as we share lessons learned from our inter-institutional education partnerships in the DFW area in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Theresa Coble.
Teaching “Big Science” to little minds: the power of stories and hands-on learning Aaron Swink, Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center Come learn about harnessing the power of stories and hands-on learning to impart a lasting understanding of “big science” concepts like climate change and evolution to young people.
On the Hunt for Pokemon: Understanding Biological Concepts using Pokemon Go™ Judy York, ESC Region 12

Participant will collect data via the Pokemon Go™ App and determine community and population level metrics. Using the App as a tool we will examine the community level biological concepts of species richness and diversity, habitat specificity, and species area relationships.

Exploring Electricity – Take a Shocking Ride from Power to Ground

Riley Calderon & Karen Wylie, Thinkery
Take part in dissecting a Thinkery program designed to provide foundational knowledge to prime 3rd-5th grade students for classroom instruction of electricity. Enjoy electrical activities and participate in a discussion of the how and why of our activity design. Perfect for beginners and experts.

Expanding Your Reach with Citizen Science

Joanne Baptista, Didey Montoya & Katelyn Wamsted, Texas Girls Collaborative Project, & Heather Russon, 4-H CAPITAL With citizen science projects, anyone can contribute to scientific research. We will introduce you to the wide world of citizen science projects including activities, resources, games and apps. Map invasive or threatened species, analyze climate records, hunt for comets, transcribe museum collections, & much more.

Reflecting on Practice: A Professional Learning Program for Informal STEM Educators

Kristin Evans & Sara Pelleteri, University of Texas Informal Reflecting on Practice (RoP) is a professional learning program designed specifically for informal educators. It uses community-building activities to help educators understand and improve their practice. Join this hands-on session to explore RoP and learn how to implement it with your team!

Pre-Conference Workshop: SciGirls Educator Workshop

SciGirls is a PBS KIDS series and website and is out to change how millions of girls think about STEM. Participants in this workshop will learn the latest research for engaging girls (and boys) in STEM, experience three hands-on stem activities, leave with curriculum for over 25 creative activities, learn how to modify any activity to excite and engage kids in STEM using the SciGirls seven and discover additional SciGirls on-line resources. Resources, lesson plans, and more information here.

For information about the 2016 ISEA Conference at the Houston Zoo, visit our Conference Archives page

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