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Meet Norman Gershenz, director SaveNature.org

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SAVENATURE.ORG AND INSECT DISCOVERY LAB BRING ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY TO CHILDREN THROUGH FUN AND PARTICIPATION THIS SUMMER!

Norman Gershenz, director SaveNature.org is the very embodiment of the spirit of preserving the natural world. Over his 41-year career, he has shared his love of nature with nearly half a million young students, helping to ignite their own desires to become active stewards of the earth. Building on their enthusiasm, he has created multiple opportunities for them to put their activism to work. He has trained teachers and educational specialists to keep spreading the word, has taken his message to the airwaves and on the road to major news media, conservation organizations, and educational institutions. Norm's signature impact is the ripple effect. From his post in San Francisco as co-founder and CEO of SaveNature.Org and co-founder of the Insect Discovery Lab, he has pushed out into the world an empowering, hopeful, but urgent message of agency to their young: the world is in your hands.

In 1998, Norm co-founded the Insect Discovery Lab, an award winning, hands-on educational outreach program using insects to inspire kids to save wildlife in wild places. The goal of this portable lab is to nurture environmental literacy, creating a population of young people whose approach to their environment reflects responsibility, stewardship and commitment. Today, the Insect Discovery Lab presents more than 800 programs a year, reaching more than 38,000 children annually. Bringing the lab into the classroom has allowed Norm to have direct influence in children's lives. In 2005 and 2006 he nurtured and nominated a young medically challenged 10-year-old boy for the Young International Eco-Hero Award and the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The boy won both awards, and in turn is working to inspire other children around the world.

One on one with Norman Gershenz, Director, SaveNature.org, and co-founder, Insect Discovery Lab, talks about summer camps, birthday parties and the importance of reconnecting kids to outdoor explorations!

"There is nothing like the Insect Discovery Lab - watching a young child have the opportunity to hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach or a giant African millipede changes their life forever."

IPM: Can you please tell us your a little about the kind of birthday parties you conduct for youngsters?
Norman Gershenz (NG): Our educator brings "fun science" to the party! The Insect Discovery Lab is the most hands-on experience any birthday child (or family) can imagine - darkling beetles, eastern lubber grasshoppers, giant African millipedes, Australian walking sticks and much more! We ask to limit the group to around 20 kids (we know there could be up to 20 adults present as well) so we present to both the children and the adults.

IPM: How do you think it's different from other such parties?
NG: There is nothing like the Insect Discovery Lab - watching a young child have the opportunity to hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach or a giant African millipede changes their life forever. Also, we are the only group that links this "nature" experience with actually saving nature in rainforest and coral reefs through SaveNature.Org's Adopt-An Acre and Adopt-A-Reef program.

IPM: How many kids can you cater at one time?
NG: Around 20, but we can accommodate up to 25.

IPM: Can you explain a little bit about method of education on insects if any?
NG: We present about anatomy, warning coloration, camouflage, defense strategy, survival, biodiversity of insects, communication, general entomological knowledge, species identification, and Inspiration!

IPM: What is the daily schedule for a child for summer programs if any?
NG: We are available 7 days a week.

IPM: How do you deal with challenging kids? What is your disciplining method?
NG: We have educators with more than 20 years of experience in presentation and the classroom. We work with great respect and intention with children and adults.

IPM: What kind of background do you expect from your teachers?
NG: We prefer a background in biology, drama and education. Every teacher/Insect Discovery Lab educational specialist goes through rigorous training, shadowing, and evaluation before they present to the public.

IPM: How is the ethnic mix in your camps/summer specials? Do you welcome all?
NG: Absolutely!

IPM: Do you think a happy child can be expected from your camps?
NG: As I mentioned, our hands-on experience changes the lives of children to have a deeper love for nature.

IPM: Do you have any specific summer specials?
NG: No.

IPM: Any Upcoming events?
NG: Yes, Saturday, May 19, 2018-Classic Bowling Center, Daly City. It is our annual Bowl the Planet and Silent Auction is coming. Please check SaveNature.org for more details.

IPM: What is your message to our readers?
NG: The Insect Discovery Lab promotes the importance of outdoor exploration and reconnects kids with nature creating a love and joy for the natural world and to become environmental stewards to save wildlife and wild places in nature.

SaveNature.Org's mission is to link people to save wildlife and wild places through the purchase and protection of habitat in nature. Its goal is to bring educational equality to those underserved in their community, increasing the opportunity for real and personal environmental stewardship for this generation and future generations. Their educational outreach programs provide a pathway for children to wonder and develop an anchor of belonging to their natural environment. Ultimately building a foundation to ensure youth take responsibility for creating a positive change in their lives, in their community, and, in the world.

The cornerstone goal of all of their programs is to nurture environmental literacy and create a population of young people whose approach to their environment reflects responsibility, stewardship and commitment. Their program activities provide connections and opportunities for youth to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their community ecosystem. Through encounters with nature in the city and exposure to science as a hands-on process, students will be able to grow as leaders in their school and the community.

New Programs
SaveNature.org created three proven and dynamic hands-on classes to foster enthusiasm about science and nature. These programs are part of our new Nature Academy. They are Owl Pellet Discovery, the art of Squid Science Dissection and EdibleEdVentures - linking the health of the planet to the health of a child. Nature Academy is fashioned after the Insect Discovery Lab, one of the most successful educational outreach programs in the United States. To date, the Insect Discovery Lab has touched the lives of more than 521,044 children since 1998 with the Insect Discovery Lab's BugMobile®. Our goal is to grow the Nature Academy as we have the Insect Discovery Lab with commitment and passion.

SaveNature.Org is creating scholarship to Bay Area elementary schools, reaching students in grades K- 4 and their teachers from urban schools with scientific hands-on presentations over the period of the school calendar year.

Brief history of SaveNature.org
Founded in 1988, SaveNature.Org focused its efforts on protecting threatened ecosystems and natural communities through conservation programs, such as Adopt an Acre® and Reef®. While SaveNature's general focus is conservation, in 1998 SaveNature.Org restructured efforts to connect youth to nature by providing educational programs that serves over 2,500 inner city youth and more than 30,000 students in the greater San Francisco Bay Area each year. SaveNature.Org has developed one of the most successful educational outreach programs for the greater San Francisco Bay Area community, teaching and impacting more than half-million children since 1998; presenting more than 800 programs annually. Their goal is to provide a pathway for children to develop a confidence of belonging in relation to all things independent from turmoil at home or at school. Ultimately, building a foundation to ensure youth take responsibility for creating a positive change in their lives and in their communities.

They have created three proven and dynamic hands-on classes to foster enthusiasm about science and nature. These programs are part of their new Nature Academy. They are Owl Pellet Discovery, the art of Squid Science Dissection and EdibleEdVentures - linking the health of the planet to the health of a child. Nature Academy is fashioned after the Insect Discovery Lab, one of the most successful educational outreach programs in the United States. To date, the Insect Discovery Lab has touched the lives of more than 521,044 children since 1998 with the Insect Discovery Lab's BugMobile®. Their goal is to grow the Nature Academy as we have the Insect Discovery Lab with commitment and passion.

SaveNature.Org is creating scholarship to Bay Area elementary schools, reaching students in grades K- 4 and their teachers from urban schools with scientific hands-on presentations over the period of the school calendar year.

 

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