GEEB Outreach

                                        Upcoming Outreach Events
Follow us on Twitter for updated information about upcoming outreach opportunities!

See the “Opportunities” subtab for links to external outreach options: https://www.life.illinois.edu/geeb/opportunities/

Past Outreach Events

Science (outreach) Saturday! The Science at the Market stall at the Champaign-Urbana Farmers Market has returned after a gap of two years, and GEEBers took over the stall on the 18th of June.  We brought some taxidermy birds from the School of Integrative Biology bird collections, displaying some common local birds. The wind forced us to get creative with how we put up the birds, but the birds in jars definitely brought a lot of people to our stall! 

A big thanks to Dr. Lance Cooper for help with the stall setup, Sarah Winnicki for helping pick out the birds, and all the amazing GEEB volunteers who showed up to make this a fun event! 

Fun with Fish!

The annual Boneyard Creek Community Day was finally back this year, on April 9th, after a two-year gap due to COVID. GEEBers, the Fuller lab and members of the American Fisheries Society put up an educational display at the event. We went seining in the boneyard creek earlier in the day, where we caught a stunning number of fish species within the span of 30 minutes! We had to suit up in waders since the water was chilly, but it was a fun experience nonetheless!

Of the 20 species present in the boneyard, we were able to display around 10 species. We had bluegill, white suckers, stonerollers, and lots of other species on minnows. Everyone loved the large white suckers that were on display!

A big thank you to GEEB volunteers, AFS members and Dr. Becky Fuller who helped us put up a fun display this year!

Seining for fish in the boneyard creek

Checking out our seine haul Minnows, stonerollers, shiners

Fish crew!

 Fish huddle – white suckers, spotfin shiners

Mammal fun!

On 29th January 2022, GEEB conducted an online science outreach program at the Urbana Free Library. We explored the world of mammals by looking at bones and skulls of many different mammals, from pangolins, to hippos, elephants and dolphins! We had enthusiastic participants attending the event, some of them as young as 5 years old! Our participants learned about what makes an animal a mammal, where they are found, and what they eat. We looked at specialisations in bones and skulls of mammals living in different environments and eating very different things. Everyone was in awe of the elephant and hippo skulls, and absolutely loved the bat skeleton, but the pangolin was the most popular mammal among our participants!

A big thank you to the librarian, Ms. Esther Yi, for giving us the opportunity to conduct this program and for ensuring that everything ran smoothly during the event. Thanks to SIB for letting us use their animal collections for this program, and also to Neha CV for helping conduct the program.

May 2021 update: GEEB Springs to Action with Educational Outreach

Despite pandemic restrictions, our dedicated GEEBers pulled through and pulled off some fantastic outreach this semester!

In March, three graduate students provided a short lesson ‘Biology Bites: From Soil to Sky’ presenting the highlights of their research for local educational charity ‘X-Time’. This charity is run by local high school student, Sophia Libman, in an effort to provide free extracurricular classes to the CU community. Go Sophia!

In April, Yankee Ridge Elementary School held their traditional Scientist Day in a non-traditional manner. With the help of 11 fantastic pre-recorded submissions from GEEB, they were able to provide students with over an hour of fieldwork footage and educational talks. These videos were used both for a dedicated Science-themed day and through the semester to supplement classes. We’re excited to inspire the next generation of little researchers!

It’s been a difficult year, but we’re proud of everything GEEB has achieved. Have a fantastic summer everyone and we look forward to reaching out for outreach again in the Fall!

 Junior League Raffle: Ornaments for a STEM tree raffle that GEEB member created for the Holiday season of 2017.


Viewing party: Solar Eclipse viewing at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy on Monday August 21st, 2017.

Girls Go For It: GEEB members participate in Girls Go For It at local elementary schools in Fall of 2017.

October 18, 2014
  Science at the Market: On October 18th, GEEB volunteers braved the chilly weather to bring science to the Urbana Farmer’s Market! We demonstrated local mammals, birds, and reptiles that can be found right here in Illinois, and educated members of the public on their basic biology. Visitors were especially excited to see the giant groundhog and the live reptiles. We had a fantastic turnout despite the cold weather!

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December 2012
  Science Night:On December 5th, 31 graduate students trekked three hours north to host a science night for Frank Hall Elementary, a low-income school in Aurora. The event was arranged by GEEB in conjunction with the Plant Biology Association of Graduate Students (PBAGS) and the Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA). Over the course of the evening, we provided interactive biology education on topics ranging from DNA and cells to paleontology and pollinator networks to over 350 elementary school students and their families. The students were highly engaged and expressed a great interest in science. The night was a huge success and we are currently overwhelmed with requests to host a similar event at other schools!
June 2012
  Science at the Market:Dr. Inga Karliner (lab website) has spearheaded the “Science at the Market” movement. Dr. Karliner has arranged for a scientific presence in the community area at the Urbana Farmers Market for a total of 14 weeks this year. GEEB paired with the Plant Biology Association of Graduate Student (PBAGS) to teach kids and parents how to isolate DNA from a strawberry and to share basic facts about DNA
  Orpheum Children’s Museum Day Camp – Girls Do Science:Many members of GEEB volunteered this year at Girls Do Science co-sponsored by CU’s Orpheum Children’s Science Museum and NSF grant DEB 1120804 awarded to Carla Cáceres (lab website). Thanks to the diverse background of the GEEB students, UIUC Faculty, and Orpheum Staff volunteers, campers were engaged in fun science exhibits from bird identification and a wild flower walk to embryology.
April 2012
Fruit Forensics at Urbana Free Library: Banana has been murdered! Who was the villan? Was it his neighbor grape, his girlfriend strawberry, or his best friend kiwi? Kids at the event isolated DNA from common fruits using household materials then sent the DNA off to the “lab” for analysis. The resulting DNA profiles were mapped onto the mock gel and the patterns were compared. Due to our careful analysis grape was arrested for the crime.

Leal Elementary’s Science Night: Building on our theme of “Backyard Ecology”, we had three tables overflowing with native Illinois plants and animals. Graduate students from Plant Biology also joined us to show the students how to isolate strawberry DNA!

Janurary 2012
Curious Creatures: GEEB took their wares indoors and wowed elementary and preschool age children at the Urbana Free Library.Due to the huge popularity of our live and preserved specimens at the Urbana Farmers Market we reused quite a few of our exhibits.There were four stations set up with a different theme: food webs; insects; birds; and reptiles.  Once again the reptiles and insects stole the show, however, there was a lot of fun going on at all stations. Our event was a huge success and we had over 100 children and parents attend.
Summer 2011
  Science at the Market: Dr. Inga Karliner (lab website) has spearheaded the “Science at the Market” movement. Each week during the summer months Dr. Karliner has arranged for a scientific presence in the community area at the Urbana Farmers Market. GEEB participated in this program and our booth theme was backyard ecology. We had exhibits ranging from live reptiles, insects, and fish to preserved specimens of common Illinois mammals and birds. We also had a kids sticker station where they could build their own backyard food web. We also produced a handout to help students identify plant and animal species common to Illinois. The event was a huge success and we will be participating again in the summer of 2012.
Updated: 12/12/2014