Outreach and Education

We love to talk about science! The following resources and outreach activities have been developed with the support of the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, Yosemite Conservancy, and the UW Madison Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

Yosemite Butterflies, a mobile application, is available on the Google Play store and Apple Store. It is available in both Spanish and English. The digital field guide provides an interactive format to learn about the park’s butterfly species and their biology, habitat and conservation status. You can browse butterflies by scientific or common name, view photos and datasheets of each species, and use advanced search tools to narrow down butterflies based on diagnostic criteria. During your next visit to Yosemite National Park, have fun learning more about the park’s unique butterfly fauna and the secret lives they lead in these mountain habitats.

Interpreting the diversification of ice crawlers through time
Developed by Matthew Medeiros (NSF RET program) and Sean Schoville. This lesson plan is targeted for genetics/evolution modules at the high school or lower division undergraduate level. Through a series of exercises, students learn how to reconstruct the evolutionary history of ice crawler species. The lesson plan and supporting material is provided below.

Ice crawler lesson plan_v2
Ice Crawler Diversification Lecture
NextGen gryllo tree building instructions
Data set
Phylogenetics quiz
Phylogenetics quiz KEY

Super-pest dice game: Understanding the evolution of insecticide resistance
This dice game demonstrates the process of natural selection acting upon beneficial mutant alleles in a population of pest beetles. Colorado potato beetles infest potato farms and can cause serious crop damage without the use of insecticides. The lesson plan is targeted for elementary school students (K-5).

Super-pest Insecticide Resistance Activity Beetle Fitness Dice KEY
Superbugs Activity Poster

Through the WISCIENCE Adult Role Models in Science (ARMS) program, we mentor middle school students, share our love of insect diversity with local K12 classrooms, and develop science lesson plans with K12 partner schools.


6th-grader Henry Lyne hard at work!

National Park Citizen Science
We’re working with park management to raise public awareness about insect conservation in Yosemite National Park, North Cascades and Mt. Rainier. We lead citizen science Bioblitzs to survey butterfly and beetle biodiversity, and to help raise awareness about climate change research. Through these efforts and our own fieldwork, we are developing insect collections for the National Park, and the data on species distributions and diversity is being developed into publicly available fact sheets and web pages to educate national park visitors.


Citizen scientists scouring the mountains for insects.

Biotechnology Youth Apprenticeship Program
We’re working with the Madison-based Youth Apprenticeship Program to train high schools students in genetics research. To find out more about this program click here.

Jessiney_BassJessiney Bass (DeForest High School)
collecting insecticide resistant Colorado potato beetles.

Insect Ambassadors
We’re working with Madison-based schools to share our love and fascination with insects. We develop in-class curriculum, including wonderful living insect displays, to create fun interactive activities for kids. To find out more about this program click here.
Zach Cohen at Friendship Camp