Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recruiting new scientists

Last Tuesday I got the chance to talk about peatland restoration with a younger audience than the one I usually teach. The bilingual pre-school were my 3 year old son goes had asked me to come and talk about my work, with kids who speak mostly polish, and a bit of English. The challenge was explaining it in a language they could understand. Fen became “a place in nature with a lot of water and a lot of flowers”. I explained how

flowers disappeared from these places when people earlier removed the water to grow food. Today we don´t grow food on all these places, and we want to bring back the flowers. If we want the flowers back, we have to get the water back again. Then we can go to other places were there are flowers and take seeds and spread the seeds.

They really understood it, and seamed interested. I brought a small Herbarium, a Flora book, a 30 m measuring tape for field work, and a pair of wading-boots. The wading boots was an instant hit, and it was fun seeing kids wanting to try boots that were larger than they were, and big enough for them to fit entirely into one leg. The measuring tape that never seamed to end was also to great enjoyment to kids who quickly took the tape and encircled the room. Something clicked, and they will now this spring collect flowers and make a mini herbarium. Children have a natural curiosity, and in the end that is what all science is based on.


panek said...

Yeah, the simpler is the better (even if explaining anything in a simply way is usually difficult).

Petter said...

Yes you are right that it is better and harder. Brings to mind Lukasz comment some years ago, that we are basically just doing gardening.