The BEETLES team is thrilled to introduce our newest member, Cristina Edwards. Cristina has worked at the Lawrence Hall of Science for two years and joins us from the registration office. She will be working with us as a project manager.
BEETLES: Tell us a bit about your roles at The Lawrence Hall of Science.
Cristina: I’m coming to the BEETLES team from the registration team at The Lawrence. I really love all of the different hats I’ve gotten to try on in my two years here – I’ve done everything from helping implement a new member database to running our 3D movie theater. On a normal day, however, I’m working with schools and families to coordinate their visits to our public science center. I also spend a lot of time shaping how we engage our members and visitors.
BEETLES: What are some of the life experiences and knowledge that inform your work at The Lawrence?
Cristina: I love learning and place-based education. Before coming to The Lawrence, I worked at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), where I first led backpacking trips in Wyoming, then moved to a role developing partnerships to help NOLS build relationships in communities of color.
I studied Conservation and Resources at U.C. Berkeley, and I actually focused much of my attention there on informal learning. At the time, I was spending a lot of time thinking about all of the things I’ve learned outside of the classroom. I had a somewhat transient childhood, and my family lived in multiple rural places when I was a kid. Much of my deepest learning has come from raising livestock, home repair projects, gardening, and other necessities of that rural life. My own schooling made me curious about how we learn about and connect to the environment, and that curiosity eventually led me to become an outdoor educator. I keep thinking of other factors that are relevant, but I’ll pause there. All of my life has contributed something to the current self I bring to BEETLES.
BEETLES: What excites you about working with BEETLES?
Cristina: BEETLES is doing great work to center equity in the field of environmental education, and I’m proud to be part of this team. Our access (or inaccess) to environmental knowledge and wisdom is deeply intertwined with issues of race, class, and gender, and I’m glad to be part of a team that really cares about changing that.
I also love the environmental education community, and it has connected me with so many curious, thoughtful, empathetic, and genuine human beings. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of the folks in the wider BEETLES network.
BEETLES: What are some of the strengths and assets you bring to the team?
Cristina: I’m very thoughtful. In the context of an outdoor expedition, we talk about expedition members having “good expedition behavior,” which describes when a team member cares for the group’s needs as much as their individual needs. Functioning well as a team is critical to staying safe outside, but it’s valuable on any team, because it centers the focus on our success as a whole rather than our parts. I’m good at paying attention to what other people on my team need, and doing a little extra to contribute to moving everyone forward together.
I’m also very creative. Pretty much everywhere I’ve worked, I developed some kind of new program. At NOLS, I created the Leaders of Color Expedition, as well as our Bridge Partners program. Here at The Lawrence, I spearheaded our first Virtual Science Birthday Celebrations (available soon on The Lawrence website!). I hope I can bring some of that creativity to BEETLES.
BEETLES: In your opinion, why are science and environmental literacy important?
Cristina: I believe that understanding the world around us helps us to understand who we are – both as individuals, as a community, and as connected parts of this beautiful place we call Earth. When we make time to notice and understand the environment and its processes, we have greater ability to understand our connection to it, and to each other.
BEETLES: If you were a kind of kitchen tool, what would you be, and why?
Cristina: Two spoons. Straightforward, versatile, and can make music in a pinch!
Say hi to Cristina or any of the BEETLES team by connecting with us. Anyone can join the BEETLES Facebook Group, and alumni from BEETLES Institutes can join our Mighty Network. You can also send us a message anytime by emailing us.