CREW Strolling Science Seminars: Lessons Learned

We’re wrapping up the third year of the CREW Strolling Science Seminars – our scholarly walks for adults – and we want to publicly thank our seminar leaders who planned and led these fun, hands-on walks at CREW. Much thanks to Kathleen Smith, FWC’s CREW biologist for her session on Florida Black Bears; to FGCU student, Ben Dion, and Dr. William Sanders for their session on The Lives of Fungi at CREW; to Dr. billY Gunnels for his all-day scientific method session called Science in A Day; to Mike Duever for showing us how plant communities respond to Hydrology; to Jack Berninger for a fun seminar about Ferns; and to Ian Bartoszek for his lively session on the American Alligator.

We also want to thank the 113 folks who registered and attended these seminars. Their participation makes it all work!

  • 98% of participants rated the Strolling Science Seminars as Excellent or Very Good
  • 93% would recommend these seminars to a friend
  • 98% rated our seminar leaders as Excellent or Very good
  • 65% said they would share what they learned with others

So, what did they like and learn? As we scanned the participant surveys, we were delighted to discover these insights:

“This was my first attendance at a CREW event (and very definitely not the last). I appreciated the warm welcome and the introduction to other attendees. Three hours packed with information, enthusiasm and laughter. Thoroughly enjoyed it.”

  1. From the Bear seminar: “Kathleen Smith, FWC biologist was well prepared, knowledgeable and pleasant. She answered all questions even if they were off topic. Very informative. I learned a lot about black bears that I didn’t know before.”
  2. From the Fern seminar: “I had never heard of the Azolla event. Learned this is a very important and helpful fern. We saw 15+ different ferns. We learned how ferns reproduce. He also gave us hints on how to tell them apart. We saw that the spores are in different places depending on the type of fern.”
  3. From the Hydrology seminar: “I learned that in Florida two feet of change in elevation can take you through five different ecosystems. (Excellent visual evidence) Maintaining constant water levels is not a good idea even if possible because diversity of plant life needs periods of drought and flooding to create various species that acclimate to changing conditions.”
  4. From the Fungi seminar: “Don’t eat the blue latex ‘shrooms, and orchids need mycelium to grow.” And… “Lichens incorporate cyanobacteria to fix nitrogen.” and “Most of the fungi is underground. What is seen is only the reproductive part. This underground part is being used to further several ecological goals such as filtering pollutants and replacing Styrofoam packing materials.”
  5. From Science in a Day: “As a longtime hiker I finally took the time to stop and understand the spiders in the canopy..prior to this they were just something I brushed away. Then I learned about Cabbage Palm “Boots’ , Wax Myrtle, etc. I also learned I can write a rap song in 5 minutes.” And…”I would have loved to have billY [Gunnels] for a professor, and I wished I had been exposed to these kinds of experiences and these sorts of people when I was a student, as I feel my life would have been much different.” And…”The scientific process is complicated Learning is easier when you are having fun.”

“Nature attracts a diverse, curious population.”

Thanks to CHNEP for partial funding of this environmental education program and to all our participants for making this year’s Strolling Science Seminars such a great success!

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