Recent explorations

News picture What can pollinators tell us about climate change? We initiated a volunteer-based pilot bee monitoring project in the Boston Harbor Islands national park area... More

Bug of the month

bug of the month pictureCommon scorpionfly



Featured student project

Plant - pollinator networks



About: the ATBI & Education & Outreach

Goal: Engage and excite the public—students, teachers, visitors, citizen scientists—about biodiversity on a local scale by making all components and products of the ATBI accessible

Children working with insect guideChildren working with a bug kitChildren viewing 3-D images of insects

In and out of the classroom: MCZ and NPS staff are working together to develop curriculum for grades 5-8. Much of the curriculum can be found at the NPS site. Our "bug kit" includes equipment for catching insects, as well as basic identification guides and data sheets for sorting activities. Teachers have received training in how to use the kit with their students in workshops, and park rangers use the bug kit in field expeditions to the islands.  The park has also implemented an indoor curriculum for the classroom, using real island bugs encased in resin to introduce students to insect biodiversity. At the college level, undergraduate biology classes from Harvard have taken several field trips to the islands to collect insects for their lab investigations. All specimens collected during these activities are ultimately contributed to the inventory project.

People with nets for a bioblitzA ranger with Boston Harbor Island visitorsYouths with nets, checking insect guide

Public events: The park has hosted several "bioblitzes" to investigate the diversity of particular groups (e.g., beetles, intertidal invertebrates) within a short time period (24 hours or less). These scientist-led programs have attracted professional, amateur, and novice entomologists to engage in collecting activities. "Family Fun Days" during the summer also allow people of all ages to participate in collecting and learning about insect diversity. Interpretive exhibits showcasing the project are planned for the Boston Harbor Islands visitor center and for the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Boston Harbor Islands carabidae posterPredator/Prey game cards

Showcasing insect diversity:The high magnification insect images produced in the Imaging Lab at the MCZ are a key component of various educational and outreach media and products. These include 3-D images, informational brochures, biodiversity posters, and a "Predator Prey" card game that teaches players about the ecology and diversity of insects on the Boston Harbor Islands.

For more about our educational activities and products, please visit our Education & Outreach section