Project Spotlight: Environmental Health Student Portal
Guest author: David Duggar, MLIS, Reference Librarian and Will Olmstadt, MSLS, MPH, Associate Director, LSU Health Shreveport, Health Sciences Library
In 2011 the National Library of Medicine debuted the The Environmental Health Student Portal.
In May 2012 the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport Library (LSUHSC-S) received an Express Outreach Award to promote the Environmental Health Student Portal (EHSP) through the Caddo Parish public school science teachers and librarians. Caddo Parish had 23 public schools covering 7th grade life science, high school biology, or environmental science. Working with the District Science Supervisors and the Supervisor of Libraries for Caddo Parish Schools, 22 science teachers and librarians from 15 middle and high schools received in-service training during the June 18-19 Explore the Common Core Mini-Conference. The new portal’s purpose was displayed on the homepage, Connecting Middle School Students to Environmental Health Information, and the site defined environmental health as the interrelationship between human health and the environment, either natural or manmade. The online reliable environmental health information resources and career information would assist in meeting the new common core objectives coming to Louisiana.
Attendees were encouraged to work as a team (teacher and librarian together) to create a classroom program that would use the EHSP, and submit it for a one-hour share-a-thon presentation at the November 2012 Joint Louisiana Science Teachers Association – Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LSTA-LATM) Conference. Registration for teachers was paid for the meeting and presenters would have a chance to receive an iPad for their classroom or library. One school participated in the team classroom project for the fall conference and another school requested to conduct the team classroom project in the spring semester.
The LSUHSC-S librarians exhibited the EHSP over 15.5 hours at the November 12-14 Joint LSTA-LATM Conference talking to educators from a minimum of 14 parishes in Louisiana. The one-hour presentation on the EHSP was given on the 14th.
A surprise outcome from exhibiting was the request from the members of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to come to the February 22-23, 2013 Louisiana Environmental Education Symposium in Baton Rouge to present and exhibit on the portal, specifically mentioning ToxTown. The LSUHSC-S Librarians exhibited the EHSP over 8 hours during the two days and talked to environmental health and science educators from a minimum of 12 parishes. On the 23rd a one hour presentation was given incorporating all of the information and materials from the share-a-thon presentation.
The last planned method of promoting the Environmental Health Student Portal was the creation of metric rulers at the request of the District Science Supervisors inscribed with the name and URL of the portal. These were given to educators for use in their classrooms at all of these activities during the 2012-2013 year.
LSUHSC-S Librarians have been asked to continue to exhibit at future LSTA Conferences and Environmental Education Symposia.