The Youth Making Ripples Competition submission period is now over. Last month Lauren (post-doctoral research scientist) and I were invited to present at the annual Learn Green Conference. The Learn Green Conference is held annually in West Palm Beach. This year the conference set its record for attendance with 1,000 attendees. They included professional educators, K-12 students, administrators, graduate students and representatives of various non-profit organizations. We decided that this conference would be an ideal venue to promote the inaugural Youth Making Ripples Competition. Despite the informal invitation to attend this meeting, we composed an abstract that described our talk.
We were allotted a 45-minute session to talk about our film competition. Conferences like Learn Green usually have multiple sessions, or presentations, going on at once. This particular conference was divided into four concurrent sessions that were each 45 minutes in length. There was also a keynote speaker that kicked off the conference as the first session of the day.
Lauren and I divided our talk into several sections. We first described Beneath the Waves and the Beneath the Waves, Inc. mission. We shared some of the data that demonstrated the impact Beneath the Waves film festivals had on their audiences. This helped to show that scientific film festivals can have a significant impact on the community. We then discussed the Youth Making Ripples Competition. During this discussion, we highlighted the different ways teachers could use this competition in their classrooms. Many marine science topics do a great job covering national and state science standards that teachers are required to cover throughout the year. The film competition is a great way for the students to work in a collaborative group on an interdisciplinary topic using 21st century technology. We were excited that every seat in our session was filled. We had over 30 attendees ranging from young students who wanted to enter the competition, to teachers that wanted more information about how they could use this in their classroom. At the end of the day, several students in our session approached us and told us that they were looking forward to submitting their films. Attending the Learn Green Conference helped us expand our reach to students and put the Youth Making Ripples Competition on Florida educators’ radar for next year.