Dragonfly Detectives

Program Overview

Dragonfly Detectives is an educational program for North Carolina students grades 4-8.  The students will participate one afternoon per week for six weeks (or week of summer camp) in various science related field activities and hands on science lessons. Some of these activities include identifying and catching dragonflies, identifying aquatic insects, learning about migration, insect life cycles, and dragonfly behaviors, keeping a science journal, and collecting and presenting data for citizen science research projects.

Goals of the Program

The goals of this program are to:

  • introduce children to scientific inquiry through a real-world citizen science project
  • nurture student enthusiasm for science and math
  • introduce children to careers in the sciences

Overview of the 6 Week Program

Dragonfly Detectives participants will typically meet once a week for six weeks.  On the first and sixth week, the educator will come to your location to provide the day’s activities.  In weeks 2-5, students will go on a field trip to a nearby dragonfly habitat to take part in hands on outdoor activities and scientific research in the field. Alternatively, Dragonfly Detectives can also be taught in a 5 day summer camp format.

Time Required

We would like to give the students plenty of time in the field and expect groups to spend about 2 hours in the parks each week.  There will also be some travel time required to and from the parks.  We anticipate the program taking a maximum of three hours each week, though it could be shorter depending on your distance from the park.

What We Provide

  • The opportunity to do authentic scientific research in the field and hands on learning activities
  • An insect net, dragonfly field guide, student workbook, and water bottle for each student to take home at the end of the program
  • Funding for transportation to and from the dragonfly habitat as necessary.  If you have no transportation available, we will work with you to attempt to arrange transport.
  • Snacks and drinks for each student each week

Transportation to the Parks

We have funds available to support transportation to and from our field locations in the parks.  If you have access to transportation (school bus, activity van, etc) at your facility, we can pay for its use.  If you have no transportation, we will attempt to provide transportation through vehicle rentals or other means.

How the Parks Are Selected

We are currently working with the following parks/organizations:

  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden
  • Haw River Assembly
  • Haw River State Park
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
  • Lake Waccamaw / NC Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville
  • Merchants Millpond
  • NC Arboretum in Asheville
  • NC Museum of Natural Sciences at Prairie Ridge in Raleigh
  • Pettigrew State Park
  • Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
  • Imagination Station in Wilson
  • NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill
  • Duke Gardens
  • Catawba Lands Conservancy
  • Center for Human-Earth Restoration in Raleigh
  • Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education in Brevard
  • Mecklenburg 4H
  • Eno River State Park
  • NC Zoo in Asheboro
  • City of Jacksonville
  • Webb Memorial Library in Morehead City
  • Wilkerson Nature Preserve in Raleigh
  • NC Aquarium in Manteo
  • JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh
  • Crabtree Lake County Park in Morrisville

We will match groups up with the park closest to their location once we receive your application.

Number of Students Per Group

We can accommodate a maximum of 15 children per group.  There is no minimum, so if your group is smaller than 15, you can still apply!

Presentation of Scientific Results

As part of the program, the students will create a poster to visually represent the data they have collected. These will be presented at Bugfest, held at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, and may be presented at other Museum, State Park, and community events.  We are also planning to publish a scientific paper based on the data the students gather.


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