Ellen Esch, ecologist

Natural History

I always enjoy sharing my passion for natural history. If you're in Southern Ontario, you might check out the event calendar for the rare Charitable Research Reserve to find an upcoming event which I, or a number of other knowledgeable folks, might be leading.

While in San Diego, I led hikes in conjunction with the San Diego Natural History Museum. These hikes are geared toward general public audiences and serve the purpose of communicating ecology and natural history across San Diego County. If you're in Southern California, join my peers! You can also check out the recent book we wrote, "Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors" (2016), or a number of articles we publish on a weekly basis.

Less formally, I use my outreach activities to help elementary through high school students develop a connection to the natural world. Apart from innate fascination, the words of Senegalese conservationist, Baba Dioum, resound with me and my interest in natural history - "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

Canyoneer Hike
Leading a San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneer hike

Increasing ecological literacy

In elementary school settings, I have brought ecological concepts into the classroom. Art instruction or a unit on the water cycle, for instance, creates perfect opportunities to make creative linkages with ecological processes. I particularly enjoy a class of 2nd graders that knows the scientific names of the most common coastal sage scrub plants. :)

I also enjoy parterning with other outreach programs to introduce high school students into the field of ecology.

Explaining a lab to high school students in the UCSD Triton STEM Summer Academy
Teaching 2nd graders about native plants