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    Eco-Digital Storytellers

    Three-day workshop for student-teacher teams that introduces environmental storytelling through maps and digital media. Teams apply what they learn to create digital media products that highlight environmental assets and injustices in their community.

About EDS

The Eco-Digital Storytellers (EDS) program engages high school student-teacher "pods" to create community-focused digital media environmental action projects.

Because it takes place during the school year and covers diverse topics and skills, EDS is a great program for school clubs or entire classes in subjects like art, science, social studies, etc.

During the first two sessions, EDS pods learn about effective storytelling and how to apply innovative mapping and digital media technology to spotlight various aspects of their local environment. At the third session, pods share their status and remaining project plans with the full group for feedback and ideas. Students also attend a career panel to hear from digital media and environmental professionals.

Undergraduate near-peer mentors provide support and guidance to help each pod along the way. Teams finish out the program by showcasing their digital project products at a professional event in the spring.

What You Get

Program Elements

Student-teacher EDS pods use online mapping technology and digital media to create environmentally-focused stories about their community. Storytelling projects are recognized and celebrated during a showcase event at the end of the program.

Gain Skills!
What does it mean to tell a great story? Learn how to use digital media and mapping technology to spotlight the environment in your community.

Take Action!
With the help of UConn mentors, teams create a compelling environmental story using student-generated film, photos, maps, and/or animation.

Share Ideas!
Connect with environmental and media professionals! Give and receive feedback as teams from across CT share their progress and project goals.

Program Resources

Mapping and Geospatial Resources

mirror lake storymap screenshot

Mirror Lake StoryMap

Take a deep dive into the story of this former marshy meadow through an interactive ArcGIS StoryMap.

new haven map screenshot

Fair Haven Data Map

Layers of historical and current demographic and environmental data help tell the story of this New Haven neighborhood.

screenshot of voices of fair haven storymap

The Voices of Fair Haven StoryMap

Produced through Save the Sound's Urban Waters Initiative program.

screenshot from geospatial revolution trailer

Geospatial Revolution

Produced by WPSU Penn State, this project shares how geospatial information influences nearly everything.
Watch the Series

storymap guide screenshot

StoryMap Guide

ArcGIS StoryMap tips, tools, and resources created by UConn CLEAR geospatial expert, Cary Chadwick.

epa enviroatlas


Geospatial data, tools, and resources related to ecosystem services, their chemical and non-chemical stressors, and human health.

environmental justice map screenshot

CT Environmental Justice Screening Tool

Interactive map for exploring environmental health and community characteristics at different spatial scales.

screenshot from geospatial revolution trailer

Policy Map

Their mapping application, platform, and other services are built for non-GIS professionals, data-literate researchers, and everyone in between.
Launch the Map

Digital Media Examples of Environmental Storytelling

screenshot from film amphibious architecture

Amphibious Architecture (2010), project by xClinic Environmental Health Clinic, video by Surplus Productions

screenshot from animation are we running out of clean water?

Are We Running Out of Clean Water? (2019), directed by Kozmonot Animation Studio, educator Balsher Singh Sidhu for TED-Ed

screenshot from animation the art of change

The Art of Change (2018) by Sois de Traca

screenshot from animation humanity has not yet failed

Humanity has Not Yet Failed (2021), animation directed by Norma V. Toraya & Jared P. Scott

screenshot of activist, Katharine Morris

Activist Katharine Morris (2022), video by Alex Hughes, Jordan Walker, and Alexandra Katsoulis for In The Know

screenshot from Koku

Koku / Scent (2021), film by Sezgin Yüzay

screenshot from documentary the return

The Return (2021), film directed by Eriberto Gualinga

screenshot from trust massachusetts

TRUST Massachusetts (2013) by Our Children's Trust


Workshop Activities & Project Resources

map screenshot

Guide to Intersectional Environmentalism

Intersectionality plays a role in environmental justice - learn how.

student writing

I Am From Poem

These poems are based on the authors' lives, cultures, and experiences.


Animation Slides

Presentation shared in the Animation Station at the second EDS workshop.

screenshot of project guide

EDS Project Guide

This project guide outlines milestones and provides helpful guiding questions and prompts.


Photo/Video Slides

Presentation shared in the Photo/Video Station at the second EDS workshop.

screenshot from bingo game

Video Interview Bingo

Use these bingo cards to gamify learning how to identify common vide interview mistakes.

screenshot of video interview presentation

Video Interview Slides

Presentation on best practices for conducting a Video Interview shared during EDS workshop.

image of person using camera

Photo/Video Release

Receive permission to use photos/videos of the people you photograph or interview.

EDS At-a-Glance

The Eco-Digital Storytellers is a brand new program! Our first cohort will begin in fall 2023. You can be a part of it and help our numbers grow!





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UConn Course & Internship

Environmental Storytelling - Fall '24 Semester

Undergraduate students in this course will experience a unique approach to environmental action!

Framed in culturally-sustaining strategies and focusing on environmental issues relevant to Connecticut communities, the Environmental Storytelling course introduces students to participatory research and environmental storytelling using digital media and geospatial technology. The course brings together faculty, students, and guest lecturers with a diverse range of expertise and interest in environmental science, arts, geospatial technology, filmmaking, science education, and digital media. In this way, the class design embraces the idea that the class experience will be enriched by the diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds of all participants.

Through hands-on activities, demos, lectures, and discussions, students will develop skills in research and data collection, effective visual storytelling, video, animation, and online mapping. Throughout the semester, students will contribute to workshops for high school student-teacher teams in the Eco-Digital Storytellers (EDS) program and collaborate on a team project that assesses environmental assets and concerns, explores possible solutions, and uses multimedia storytelling to envision an environmental future.

Email course instructor for a permission number to enroll...

EDS Internship - Spring '25 Semester

Students who complete the Environmental Storytelling course will have the opportunity to apply for 5-month paid environmental education internship positions as Eco-Digital Storyteller (EDS) mentors. Under the support and guidance of multidisciplinary faculty, EDS mentors will have the unique opportunity to mentor a subset of Natural Resources Conservation Academy school pods (student-teacher teams) as they carry out community environmental storytelling projects during the spring semester. This position will provide undergraduate students with experience in leadership, authentic community engagement, environmental education, mentorship, and professional development in environmental science, technology, the arts, and storytelling/science communication, in addition to soft skills that are critical for workforce success such as teamwork, communication, and building relationships.

students at a table with post-it notes

Current EDS Mentors

Emma Dutil

2nd Year
Political Science with Honors Laureate, Environmental Studies

Annie Gong

3rd Year
Digital Media & Design: Motion Design & Animation

Jamaile Hall

3rd Year
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Digital Media & Design

Natalie Maddox

3rd Year
Natural Resources & the Environment: Wildlife Conservation

Avi Obie

3rd Year
Digital Media & Design: Film & Video Production

Sydney Seldon

3rd Year
Environmental Science, Individualized Major: Sustainable Communities


EDS Course & Workshop Instructors

Todd Campbell

Professor of Science Education

Neag School of Education


Cary Chadwick

Geospatial Training Program Coordinator

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research


Laura Cisneros

Associate Extension Professor

Department of Natural Resources & the Environment; Institute of the Environment


Dave Dickson

NEMO Co-Director and Mobile Mapping Educator

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research


Heather Elliott-Famularo

Department Head and Professor of Digital Film/Video Production

Department of Digital Media & Design


Nicole Freidenfelds

Visiting Assistant Extension Educator

Department of Natural Resources & the Environment


Anna Lindemann

Assistant Professor of Motion Design and Animation

Department of Digital Media & Design

Byung-Yeol Park

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neag School of Education

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Laurel Pehmoeller

Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Film/Video Production

Department of Digital Media & Design

person smiling

Jonathan Simmons

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neag School of Education

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Program Funding


NRCA’s Eco-Digital Storytellers is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program (ITEST-2148606). ITEST supports applied research and development focused on increasing preK-12 students' interest in careers in information and communication technology and STEM through technology-based learning experiences. STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and STEM education is seen by the U.S. Department of Education and many others as critical to maintaining and enhancing America’s global leadership and economic health.

The material on this webpage is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2148606. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.