Three programs last week

Last week I was fortunate enough to deliver my program on 3 occasions, as I continue to revise what I am presenting. I have altered my program to focus mostly on thermal imaging, particularly its uses for censusing.

I have been trying to place my audience participants in the role of scientists, and get them to tell me what are the challenges faced by bat researchers. This has elicited some good feedback in having visitors think about when bats are active and also the type of environment they prefer. People are very responsive to the idea that researchers here cannot regularly engage in the type of activities that are prohibited to audience members at bat flight. This clarifies just how tough it is to study bats without distubing them.

Visitors have also responded well in discussing the need for an accurate count of bats here at CAVE. Many have an inchoate belief that the population here has declined greatly, and they understand that if that early count of 8 million is shown to be wrong, that the whole idea if decline is then at question.

One of my programs had a large audience over 20, of which about 15 were a large family group ranging from teenagers to mature adults. It was fun and lively; I think everyone’s familiarity with each other made for a more informal setting.

Finally, a big highlight form me occurred when a particularly engaged visitor stated that he had not seen this sort of thing at other National Parks, but hoped to see it in the future. I explained that one of the major goals of iSWOOP was to do just that and extend this to many other sites.

A great week overall. I will post again following my next round of programs.


3 thoughts on “Three programs last week

  1. I had to look up “inchoate”…. Thanks for the SAT word lesson 🙂
    I wish I had a lively group to have a more informal discussion with. Lucky!


  2. Sounds excellent!

    Walter, I was thinking of you while I was on a tour of the Longfellow Historic site here in Cambridge (because I know history is a love of yours). I’ve biked by it every workday for the last 13 years and finally went for a tour and free concert on Sunday. Anyway, Myra had high praise for the guide, but I felt that I was being talked at. She’d stop for breath and ask, Any questions. There was an uncomfortable pause. I feel like the question-asking part of my brain goes dormant for a while when it isn’t needed and all the energy is directed toward processing information (dates and names, relationships, and matching with other historical facts I know) and it takes a while to get it to come out of its sleep setting. This may be true for others, too.

    The idea that people will say more if they are comfortable with each other (not necessarily just know each other, because school kids might know each other and not feel the list bit comfortable) makes me think that it’s worth spending a few minutes on chit chat and an icebreaker before you get going with your program.


  3. Walter, I’m so glad you have been able to work on your program so much this week and get such great lively interactions. I’m ecstatic that you had some feedback about the iSWOOP program and how it is something unique to Carlsbad. This is where we hope to go!!

    I really like your technique of putting visitors in the role of scientist, I think that is what we try to consistently do in higher-ed with our students. Great post


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