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Explorer program at The Greensboro Science Center gets kids back outdoors

Eric Chilton learns about the Eco Explorer program which has kids gathering actual data for use with scientists while learning about our native plants and animals.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Parents, in this age of video games it can be a challenge to pry your little ones off the screens and get them outside again. The Greensboro Science Center has a program that will do just that. 

Eco Explorer (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education) is an incentive-based citizen science program for children in grades K-8. Developed by The North Carolina Arboretum, this pilot program combines science exploration with kid-friendly technology to foster a fun learning environment for children while encouraging them to explore the outdoors and participate in what they call citizen science. 

“This program takes kids into the woods on-site at the Science Center and teaches them about everything from plants and bugs to fish and reptiles that are all native to our part of the world,” Marketing Specialist Erica Brown said. “They also use these outings to earn badges along the way with the hopes of earning all the badges we have to offer and if they do that they will know a great deal about our surroundings and hopefully spark the scientist in each of them.”

This program is centered around what they call Citizen Science. Citizen Science encourages volunteers of any age to collect and submit scientific information to real-life scientists, which will assist in their research and data analysis. Scientists around the world need help to collect data. By becoming a citizen scientist, participants can help professional scientists understand changes in the environment and see how these changes impact plants, animals, and other natural resources.

If you are interested in this program, you can sign your child up on their website.