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Scientists & Staff

Barbara McGuinness

Barbara McGuinness

Forester/Environmental Literacy Coordinator
Communications and Science Delivery
PO Box 267
Irvine, Pennsylvania 16329
Phone: 814-563-1040

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Current Research

As the Environmental Literacy Coordinator for the Northern Research Station, my focus is on working with scientists, staff, educators, and educational organizations to integrate research results into educational materials and programs. Much of this work is accomplished through partnerships with other federal and state agencies, and public and private organizations.

Research Interests

One of my greatest interests is working across agency and organizational boundaries to provide high quality science education. Over the past five years, we've worked internally with Region 9, State and Private Forestry, and the Washington Office Conservation Education staff to better coordiate our efforts across the 20-state region that we serve. These efforts allow us to provide better service to our partners and expose us to a much broader variety of environmental education programs and partners. I am also particularly interested in developing long-term relationships with schools and school districts local to our Research Labs, not just to share information, but also to expose students to green careers in their own communities.

Why This Research is Important

Environmental literacy matters because people's attitudes and values about nature affect the daily decisions they make with regards to conservation and sustainability. Nationwide, efforts like the Children and Nature Network and No Child Left Inside® are reaching out to students, educators, families and communities to reconnect people to the environment in which they live. Research's participation is critical because sound, reliable scientific information is key to making well-informed choices. Our work can also support redesigned academic standards, such as the Next Generation Science Standards, which focus on a developmental progression of core ideas (K-12) and working both within and across disciplines in science and engineering.

Professional Experience

  • Forester/Environmental Literacy Coordinator USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station
    2005 - Current
    As the Environmental Literacy Coordinator, I work with scientists, staff, educators, and educational organizations to integrate research results into educational materials and programs; promote and enhance partnerships to link science and citizenship; and improve coordination between Forest Service mission areas to deliver high-quality educational materials. I also coordinate Oak SILVAH training sessions for NRS-02.
  • Writer/Editor USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station
    2000 - 2005
    Primary duties included writing and editing natural resource management plans, integrated cultural resource management plans and environmental assessments for Department of Defense installations. Also implemented communications and technology transfer support for the Warren Forestry Sciences Lab, wrote the monthly newsletter for the Northern Research Station, and edited documents for Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry as needed.
  • Technology Transfer Specialist The Research Foundation at SUNY
    1994 - 1999
    Duties for this cooperative position included writing for scientific and lay audiences; development and implementation of workshops and presentations for professional foresters and wildlife biologists, outdoor writers, environmental educators, and the general public. Also gained experience facilitating small and large group discussions.

Featured Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Forest For Every Classroom Engages Students in Environmental Topics (2012)
Building a network for place-based environmental education in Wisconsin

Forest Service Research on Morel Mushrooms Featured in Natural Inquirer (2014)
The Natural Inquirer's monograph series for middle school students and educators showcased a Forest Service researcher's work on local knowledge of morel mushroom types, habitat, and disturbance.

Go Green Club Introduces Students to the Forest (2014)
The Forest Service's Northern Research Station and Allegheny National Forest are key partners in establishing the "Go Green Club," an after-school science club that takes students in grades 5-12 outside for a weekly environmental education program. Forest Service personnel contributed to programming, providing outdoor presentations and activities on tree species identification, forest health and diversity, wildlife, forest recreation, sustainable management, winter safety and survival, wildflowers, and careers in natural resources.

Hubbard Brook Environmental Literacy Program (2011)
One of the Northern Research Station's primary partnerships supporting environmental literacy is with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, which has the mission of promoting understanding and stewardship of ecosystems through scientific research, long-term monitoring and education.

Moving Field Guides: Learning ecology through dance (2011)
Children in Baltimore, MD, are working with Forest Service researchers and the Dance Exchange, a professional dance company, to turn their observations into movements as they learn about the environment. The result, a Moving Field Guide, is a dance representing natural events, such as bark sloughing off a tree and ducks migrating, that links students to their local environments in personal and enduring ways.

Last updated on : 15-Jun-2015