Changing Planet

Project Exploration Students Visit BioBlitz to Understand How Dinosaurs Lived


Photo copyright Project Exploration, all rights reserved

Among the thousands of students participating in the Indiana Dunes BioBlitz was a small group from Project Exploration.

Founded in 1999 by paleontologist Paul Sereno and educator Gabrielle Lyon to make science accessible, Chicago-based Project Exploration inspires minority youth and girls with the wonders of science and discovery.

“We get students interested in science, keep students interested in science and equip students to pursue science,” says the Project Exploration Web site. “Our programs target Chicago public school students who have been low and middle achievers, but who are also curious, open-minded, and passionate; 85 percent of our students are from low-income families. Project Exploration sets students on a path to future careers in science.”


The Project Exploration team at the Indiana Dunes BioBlitz on Saturday, from left: Mikki Brown, Project Exploration, Youth Programs Coordinator; Nina C., Curie High School; Jehad B., Curie High School; Michael R., ACE Tech Charter School; Gabrielle Lyon, Project Exploration Cofounder and Executive Director; Khadijah P., North Lawndale College Prep. (Not pictured, Mary Elizabeth Perez, Project Exploration)

Photo by David Braun

I met up with the Project Exploration team at the bioblitz today and heard about their adventure in the wet woods, where there they accompanied herpetologist Alan Resetar from Chicago’s Field Museum (in the top photo) in search of species of reptiles and amphibians.

The highlight of the outing, the students agreed, was a sighting of a large snapping turtle.Read more about this on the Project Exploration Blog.

The bioblitz is what Project Exploration is all about, said Gabrielle Lyon, Project Exploration cofounder and executive director. “It’s about bringing students and people with curious minds together with scientists to explore the world.”

Exploring the Indiana Dunes also helped the students understand the environment preferred by reptiles, Lyon explained. This summer the students will participate in a fossil dig, and there they would use the knowledge of modern reptile habitat to help piece together the ancient environment in which reptiles lived during the dinosaur age 67 million years ago in Montana.

Watch this video in which Gabrielle Lyon and students talk about Project Exploration and the bioblitz:

Video by David Braun

Read more on Project Exploration’s Blog >>


Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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