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Lamberty ’00 Wants You To “Be the Bee”

A bee on a sprig of Russian Sage
Author: 
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
December 17, 2018
  • The computer science professor is developing an interactive education experience about pollinator and prairie health.
  • UMN Morris students will help develop these materials and experiences.
  • This work is part of the West Central Research and Outreach Center's "Morris Prairie Pollinator Demonstration and Education" project.

Kristin Kaster Lamberty '00, associate professor of computer science at the University of Minnesota Morris, wants you to "be the bee" when you head out on the city bike trail. That's why she's working on an experience that'll help people see what it's like to travel the trail as a bee would. Her work is part of the "Morris Prairie Pollinator Demonstration and Education" project headed up by the UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC).

"Morris Prairie Pollinator Demonstration and Education" has two components: an effort to bring back native prairie plants and the pollinators they support, and a campaign to teach the campus and community more about the importance of pollinator health. Lamberty's job is to help tell the story in a fun, engaging way.

First inspired by location-based apps like Pokémon GO, Lamberty hopes to create a series of experiences that will help users of all ages see the world through the eyes of a bee or butterfly. Her work builds on relationships made through a previous project with WCROC, in which students developed an interactive app for visitors to the center's display gardens.

"Technology is everywhere now, so when people are out in the prairie, they'll have access to dynamic information that they can interact with," says Lamberty.

Lamberty's vision for her piece of the project includes kits for teachers, activity stations, signage, a website, and more along the trail and in the city. Whatever form it takes, it'll reflect the University's public outreach mission, she says.

"As a land grant university, it's important that we do outreach and education that responds to what's happening in our community," she says.

The Morris Prairie Pollinator Demonstration and Education project began in fall 2018. It will continue through 2021.

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Learn more at lccmr.leg.mn