Building a sense of community: Field activities at a distance

Link to the Video:

About this talk:

The UC California Naturalist Program (CalNat) offers naturalist certification courses throughout the state. Under normal circumstances, these courses focus on hands-on, experiential learning in the field. In Spring 2020, the UC Davis CalNat course, Wild Davis, operated fully online, forcing a significant restructuring of activities. Group field activities were primarily replaced with online community and citizen science projects such as iNaturalist, which allow students to submit observations from their own backyard, compare their observations to other records, and see their classmates’ observations. Dr. Gerhart-Barley talks about how these projects provided an opportunity for field activities and helped build a sense of community despite geographic distance.

About the presenter:

Laci Gerhart-Barley


Dr. Gerhart-Barley is an Assistant Professor of Teaching (LPSOE) in the Department of Evolution and Ecology. She grew up in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas for both her BS and PhD. Following the completion of her PhD, Dr. Gerhart-Barley was a post-doctoral researcher at Kansas State University, after which she taught at the University of Hawai’i on both the West O’ahu and Mānoa campuses. She joined the UCD faculty in 2017 and her pedagogical research focuses on instructional technology, such as lecture capture and video-based educational tools. She is also a co-Principal Investigator on a Department of Education funded project to develop free textbooks for UC Davis students through the open-source platform LibreTexts.

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