Paper No. 6-11
Presentation Time: 10:50 AM
TIME SCAVENGERS: A COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOR TO DISSEMINATE COMPLEX SCIENCE TO INCREASE PUBLIC LITERACY ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND EVOLUTION
Climate change and evolution are topics at the forefront of political discussions, debates, and the public sphere. Regardless of data that indicate climate change will become a larger threat to humanity, the public as a whole has yet to accept that this threat is real. Similarly, evolution is a contentious topic in the realm of politics and education, with several states in the U.S. allowing the teaching of alternative theories (e.g., intelligent design). Thus it is imperative that the public have access to correct and easy-to-digest information on these two topics to make informed environmental and ecological decisions. To date, scientifically accurate digital platforms aimed at informing the public on these topics can be overly complex and jargon-ridden. To address these issues, the website Time Scavengers (timescavengers.blog) was created and is maintained by a group of informal educators, avocational scientists, academics, and graduate students. The site includes over 30 static pages about general geology, climate change, and evolution, all written for the public. Pages include easy to understand content and images. To make the process of science more transparent, the site includes six blogs: ‘Meet the Scientist’, ‘Climate & Paleo News’, ‘Science Bytes’, ‘Education & Outreach’, ‘Field Excursions’, and ‘Byte of Life’. The blogs provide insight into data collection and interpretation, field work, and interactions with the public. The site also includes a ‘Teaching Resources’ page with links to activities related to the content on the website appropriate for K-12 classrooms. The overarching goals of the site are to bridge the gap between scientists and the public through engaging, informational pages and personal experiences in the field, lab, classroom, and community, and to increase climate change literacy through easy to digest content.