4 min read

Outreach Teams Bring NASA Resources to Interpreters at the 2021 National Association for Interpretation Annual Conference

Outreach Teams Bring NASA Resources to Interpreters at the 2021 National Association for Interpretation Annual Conference

NASA had a major presence at the hybrid National Association for Interpretation annual conference in 2021, both virtually and in person in Palm Springs, CA. Participating NASA Science Activation teams included the Earth to Sky Interagency Partnership, the NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC), and the Museum & Informal Education Alliance. The teams’ participation in the conference resulted in a great deal of engagement with interpreters and informal educators via a workshop and both in-person and virtual booths and presentations.

Just before the conference, the Earth to Sky team hosted a two-day climate communication workshop in partnership with Joshua Tree National Park. Thirteen participants from California, Nevada, and Colorado learned about global climate change interpreted through the lens of local ecosystems as well as effective communication techniques. The workshop included a presentation by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientist JT Reager, an exploration of NASA resources such as Landsat imagery, examples of climate interpretation techniques ranging from social media to supervising a large team of interpreters, and training on National Park Service audience-centered engagement methodology. With the help of coaches, the participants completed their initial plans for audience-centered interpretation programs at their own sites and presented those ideas to their peers, garnering useful feedback from the group. In the evaluation, workshop participants indicated that they found all of the specific parts of the workshop to be very helpful and that they ended the workshop with a solid understanding of most of the workshop’s overall learning objectives.

Earth to Sky staff (Geneviève de Messières and Hazel Galloway) hosted a booth at the in-person conference, inviting several partners to join them (including Amelia Chapman of the Museum & Informal Education Alliance, Heather Mortimer of NESEC / GLOBE Observer, and an Earth to Sky Regional Leader). The booth featured Landsat still and timelapse imagery as well as many other resources and led to over a hundred interpreters and informal educators discovering how they can use NASA resources in their work.

Meanwhile, Anita Davis of Earth to Sky hosted a virtual booth, featuring a custom video with a welcome message from the Earth to Sky team. Anita created a guide to a variety of NASA resources in the context of interpretation. The booth had approximately 150 visitors and led to new listserv and website registrations.

NESEC’s Kristen Weaver delivered a virtual presentation for interpreters about how the GLOBE Observer app along with NASA data can engage visitors in data collection for scientific research and focus them on areas of interest. The presentation was highly attended with 140 interpreters and informal educators learning about GLOBE Observer.
The Designing for Accessibility presentation, led by Heather Mortimer of GLOBE Observer, covered disabilities, laws and standards, and basic accessible design principles with examples from GLOBE Observer. The in-person session was well attended with standing room only, and 78 people indicated that they attended virtually through the conference app. The presentation received numerous compliments and attendees reached out to continue discussions throughout the conference. The response appears to demonstrate how much interpreters value accessibility and/or the need for additional resources and training related to accessibility.

During the conference, Earth to Sky also hosted an in-person panel presentation featuring two Earth to Sky Regional Leaders and the Earth to Sky evaluator in order to help participants understand the Earth to Sky Regional Model and to invite participants to assemble team applications for the next Earth to Sky Academy. While participation in the panel discussion was intimate, with about a dozen participants, the panel resulted in several high-value new contacts for Earth to Sky’s regional outreach and renewed contact with the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI).

The National Association for Interpretation annual conference demonstrated yet again that it is a high-value opportunity for NASA outreach personnel to help interpreters and informal educators discover the wealth of NASA resources that they can use in their work with millions of visitors and students.
(NESEC Award No: NNX16AE28A)

Advertisement for Earth to Sky workshop https://earthtosky.org/related-news/417-theheatison.html

Video recording of Kristen Weaver’s GLOBE Observer presentation https://vimeo.com/654279428/a16f76a115

At the Earth to Sky booth, Hazel Galloway helps interpreters at the NAI conference understand how to use timelapse Landsat satellite imagery to tell stories of change at their sites.