Beyond BioBlitz: Project WISE Youth Bring Science to the Parks



Just two weeks before the BioBlitz in the Golden Gate National Parks, the Crissy Field Center’s Project WISE (Watersheds Inspiring Student Education) program will hold their annual Environmental Science Symposium. On March 19 and 20, Advanced Placement Environmental Science students from Galileo Academy of Science and Technology will present findings from their own research projects—powerful examples of “citizen science” at work!

Now in its 13th year, Project WISE students work with the Center’s educators during the entire school year, visiting every week and developing their empirical skills through hands-on science experiments.  The program emphasizes these elements through its dynamic setting at Crissy Field, which offers real-world experiences in the adjacent marshes and beachfront, and with unique flora and fauna. Every spring, students use this knowledge and skill set to build their own research projects.  

The projects, which explore environmental topics important to the students, span a wide range of topics. One group is exploring the benefits of grass-fed organic hamburger patties and will present findings about food producers raising this increasingly popular meat choice, and discuss the impacts on both people and the environment.

Another group is collecting and analyzing plastic samples from beaches in the Golden Gate National Parks to discuss the effects of pollution in our water. One delicious experiment will measure energy efficiency by comparing the output needed to blend a smoothie at home, versus traveling to a store to buy a smoothie. For this project students will build a bike generator to calculate the wattage produced and compare human power to machine power. 


WISE educators incorporate new technology to hone the students’ skills and keep them current with the changing trends in environmental science. During the BioBlitz event, WISE students will utilize iPad minis to run the iNaturalist app and catalog species they find in the park.  

In addition, students have been using the iPad minis to illustrate the scope of their work by filming their experiments. In the past, some of these videos have been selected by environmental science film festivals which showcase youth projects. 

This year’s student films will premiere at the symposium, which will be held at the Crissy Field Center on March 19 and 20, from 4 pm to 6 pm on both days. The event is open to the public and all are encouraged to come and ask questions and applaud these remarkable project teams! 


Previous projects can be seen on video at this link:

Learn more about Project WISE

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