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Community engagement

VCU Life Sciences conducts extensive public service activities, many focused on public education at the local, regional and national level.

Activities include the development of educational materials to complement episodes of the Secrets of the Sequence series and the VCU Life Sciences Survey, a national public opinion survey conducted by the VCU Center for Public Policy.

Through various organizations, the office also sponsors student volunteer activities and field-oriented classes for teachers, middle school and VCU students.

Outreach education

VCU Rice Rivers Center

For sixth- through ninth-graders
In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the VCU Rice Rivers Center offers full-day summer field courses for rising sixth- through ninth-graders. Students are able to move from the classroom to this living laboratory to better understand and solve real environmental and ecological problems.

Offered by the VCU Division of Community Engagement to rising sixth- through eighth-graders, the Discovery summer program provides a variety of in-depth experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts and health sciences at the Mary and Frances Youth Center.

For teachers
Workshops designed especially for teachers are offered during summer months and occasionally during the school year. Gain new knowledge and great instructional ideas to capture students’ interest and earn re-certification points. For more information on workshop offerings, visit the VCU Rice Rivers Center website or contact Anne Wright at (804) 828-0145 or abwright@vcu.edu.

For the public
VCU Rice Rivers Center is offering the general public an opportunity to experience “science in action” with various field workshops throughout the year. These half-day EcoExperiences generally are held on-site at the VCU Rice Rivers Center on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. unless otherwise stated. Participants may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy by the river. Register online at www.support.vcu.edu/ricerivers.

Life Sciences Survey

From 2001 to 2010, VCU Life Sciences engaged the public through periodic nationwide surveys conducted by the VCU Center for Public Policy. The results ​from the surveys ​can be found below.

Secrets of the Sequence video series

VCU Life Sciences brings you 50 of the best videos from the "Secrets of the Sequence" PBS series, based on the Human Genome Project. These 8-12 minute videos are provided with lesson plans to assist in infusing life sciences research across the biology curriculum. Additional videos have been created and added to the list through funding provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The videos and lesson plans are available for free and may be streamed or downloaded from the Secrets of the Sequence website.

Volunteer opportunities

Green Unity 4 VCU
A student organization working directly with the Center for Environmental Studies, Green Unity 4 VCU provides numerous opportunities for community engagement throughout the year.

Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program
The Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program is an effort to collect waste oyster shells from businesses, residents and events for the purpose of enhancing the Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts. Visit the VCU Rice Rivers Center website for details.

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