Despite overcast weather on Sunday November 12, the UCF Arboretum Park drew in over 150 people of all ages for UCF’s annual Faculty & Family Fun Day event. Among the interactive, hands-on exhibits, the Citizen Science GIS team was there creating a buzz (quite literally) to engage and educate young people about the importance of drones and geospatial technologies. When the winds calmed, many youngsters even had a chance to pilot the Parrot Mambo mini-drones, impressively handling the breezy weather conditions as they navigated around trees and shrubs. Any hesitation they may have had before flying instantly transformed into self-assurance and focus as they steered the drone around the Arboretum field. Watching this transformation was a welcome reminder that Citizen Science GIS does more than educate and inform young people about science and technology, important as that is. Our work empowers students to realize their own capacity to reach new heights, both within and beyond science education.

Nia Hurst, lab manager from UCF’s aquatic biogeochemistry lab, instructs a young student on how to fly the Parrot Mambo mini-drone.

Kids  learned science and built self-confidence while flying drones at UCF’s Faculty and Family Fun Day event.

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