2019 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference Workshop Observing and Experiencing Nature: Exploring Possibilities

Colored lantern slide of field Bordering Lost Island

During the 2019 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, staff from the University Library’s Digital Initiatives unit and the Curator of the ISU Ada Hayden Herbarium gave a workshop on ways to observe nature, and how others had documented and described the natural world. The workshop took place on June 25th and 26th.

Workshop Objectives/Goals

  • Learn about Iowa prairie plants and prairies
  • View nature through the experiences of Iowa’s naturalist heroes
  • Learn to look at nature with an ecologist’s eye
  • Observe interactions within the diversity of living things
  • Examine examples in real-life and digital resources
  • Learn how to document findings and observations

Workshop Description

Prairies, forests, and wetlands are vital habitats in Iowa’s ecosystems. Wander through natural, digital, and preserved versions of these landscapes to learn different ways of seeing and observing nature. Examine how biologists create field notes, and create your own. Interact with a biologist, archivist, and Interact with a biologist, archivist, and web designer in the field, amongst preserved plant specimens at the Herbarium, and within the university library.

Day 1: Tour the ISU Herbarium and venture outdoors to learn about and observe prairie plants and organisms Day 2: Document findings from Day 1. Learn about resources to identify and investigate prairie plants and animals. Explore digital resources documenting historical figures who studied Iowa’s natural areas. Incorporate Day 2 into your own field notes.

Note: Day 1 activities are weather dependent, and itinerary may need to be adjusted due to weather.

Workshop Leaders

Lori Bousson, Digital Initiatives Web Designer, Iowa State University Library 
Deb Lewis, Curator, Ada Hayden Herbarium
Laura Sullivan, Digital Initiatives Archivist, Iowa State University Library