Project TRUE is a research internship program for high school students in the New York City area. The students choose between two fields of study, invertebrates or birds, to focus on during the ten-week internship.
The first cohort of teens participated in the project from October 2013 to mid-January 2014. A blog was created as part of the civic engagement aspect of Project TRUE. The teen interns generated the content for the blog and decided what should be posted. Jason Aloisio, Fordham University PhD Candidate and City Zoos Urban Ecologist, and Debbie Dieneman, Coordinator of Volunteers a Prospect Park Zoo, facilitate the internship activities and manage the Project TRUE blog.
Blog posts include photographs of field research expeditions, video presentations, and open letters of thanks to visiting researchers. The Cohort 1 teens created much of the content for the blog using iPads, which were used “as journals, field guides, interview guides, mapping, and much more.” Karen Tingley, Co-PI from the Wildlife Conservation Society, says, “These tools helped them engage in ways that we don’t always see.”
The Project TRUE team is in the process of selecting the teens for the second cohort. These teens will also contribute to the blog using iPads and Go-Pro cameras. Tingley says, “We are really excited for the students to document their process and exploration through the use of photo and video. These videos and images will be uploaded to the blog, YouTube, and Instagram- all great placed for additional teens to learn more about what we are doing.”
To spread word about the work that the teens in Project TRUE are doing, the blog is featured on the WCS Project TRUE website page, found here, and is used in school presentations that each of the interns give at the end of the semester.