ABRC Education & Outreach: 2020 Year-in-Review

In a “normal” year, the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center reaches upwards of 5,000 people through school outreach and community events. These events, coupled with the education modules the ABRC develops, curates, and distributes around the globe, make up the bulk of the ABRC’s outreach efforts. It goes without saying that 2020 was anything but normal. The center was able to facilitate a few in-person workshops and one school program before in-person school and public events ground to a halt because of the global pandemic. It took a bit of time to adjust, but the ABRC was able to collaborate with other units at The Ohio State University and a few community partners to transform some of its outreach programs to a virtual format.

In total, the ABRC reached more than 1,220 individuals through outreach in 2020. The public and educators were the two main audiences for ABRC’s virtual outreach. The center participated in two virtual community events, Ohio State’s WestFest and COSI’s Farm Days. To better serve the education community, ABRC collaborated with six STEM units across campus to provide a virtual teacher workshop series over the summer. In the fall, the same group of educators came together to offer bi-weekly STEM Education Office Hours, and informal opportunity for K-12 teachers and educators to ask questions, brainstorm ideas or seek collaborations. Internally, ABRC staff facilitated science communication workshops for Ohio State graduate students.

While 2020 is behind us, the need for virtual outreach is not. The ABRC will continue to offer virtual programs until it is safe to gather in person. Visit our website for more information on self-guided and facilitated outreach programs.