Creating an Active and Very Public Zone for Science at the California Academy of Sciences

Thursday, 12 February 2015: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 210ABEF (San Jose Convention Center)
Elizabeth Babcock, California Academy of Sciences, , San Francisco, CA
At the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, scientists and educators work together to inspire our guests about science, connect them to nature, and equip them to advocate for the diversity and health of life on our planet. Given our in-person visitorship of 1.5 million, the museum’s public floor is a highly visible platform for Academy scientists to engage the public. Academy researchers partner with our educators on a wide range of programs for diverse audiences. Their role in our educational missions includes acting as advisors, designers, educators, and program strategists. Coordinating this collaboration, which encompasses 2.5 million learning engagements a year, requires alignment at the top of the organization, clear communication, and serious prioritization about how and where to deploy our scientists for maximum impact. Success at the Academy means measurable impact on science and sustainability learning, heightened brand identity, effective public engagement, an on-the-ground application of our scientific discoveries for conservation. The Academy’s Active Zone for Science, Citizen Science initiative, and Project Lab are three approaches that have helped to align the education and science teams. Sustainability action is the next initiative underway. In this session, Dr. Elizabeth Babcock, Chief Public Engagement Officer, shares the realities and lessons learned while coordinating this effort as an integrated Academy.