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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" in creating community environmental narratives through hands-on training, resources, and mentorship. Because it 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 workshop sessions, EDS pods learn the value of effective storytelling and how to apply innovative mapping and digital media technology to spotlight various aspects of their local environment from different perspectives. The third workshop session features a design charrette where pods share their status and remaining project plans to the full group for feedback. Students also attend a career panel to explore professions such as environmental scientist, natural resources manager, hydrologist, scientific filmmaker/animator, and data visualization specialist.

Through their projects, pods propose creative solutions to current environmental issues or imagine a distant environmental future through storytelling in animation or film. 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.

Program Elements

Student-teacher EDS pods use geospatial technology and digital media to create environmentally-focused stories about their community. Below is an infographic showing the various EDS program components split by participants and activities.


Program Resources

Workshop Activities, Tutorials & Technology Resource Guides

Collecting Field Data with Epicollect5

Smartphone App for Apple iOS and Android devices. Design custom data collection forms and collect field data with location information and media.

Reference Guide

Video Tutorials

Finding and Mapping Trails with AllTrails

Smartphone App for Apple iOS and Android devices. Create trail maps, trace custom paths, import and export GPS data.

Reference Guide

Video Tutorials

Editing and Adding Tracks in OpenStreetMap

The freely available geospatial data from OSM can be used for creating paper and electronic maps, geocoding of address and place names, and route planning.

Video Tutorials

Google Maps

Exporting Data from Track Kit & Epicollect5 into Google Maps.

Hands-on Activity

Creating a custom Google Map.

Google Maps Tutorial

Seek by iNaturalist

Seek allows curious naturalists of all ages to observe organisms (plants, animals, insects, etc.) with on-screen identification using computer vision based on data from iNaturalist.

User Guide

ArcGIS Online

Interactive maps create immersive experiences that take maps from a static view to an opportunity for users to explore.

Authoring an ArcGIS StoryMap

Combine your maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content to create compelling, user-friendly web apps.

StoryMap Tutorial

Using the Track Kit App to Collect GPS Data in the Field

Smartphone App for Apple iOS and Android devices. Collect waypoints, tracks and media.

Project Resources

Conservation Projects

View all the past Natural Resources Conservation Academy projects in one place! Use the filter options to browse projects based on keyword/topic, program, project location and type of technology used.

NRCA Projects

Project Templates

Use our templates to brainstorm, plan & design your own custom-tailored Wildlife Monitoring, Trail Mapping, Invasive Plant Species or Water Quality conservation project. Prefer to think outside the box? Use our Choose Your Own Adventure template!

Project Templates

NRCA StoryMap

An ArcGIS StoryMap showcasing community conservation projects from past Natural Resources Conservation Academy participants and the geospatial tools and technology used to enhance project outcomes.

NRCA StoryMap

Final Project Form

Fill out this short form to provide a summary of your CTP project so we know what you accomplished. It will magically autogenerate a poster of your project that you can then customize and edit with photos and other graphics.

Final Project Form

Communication Best Practices for Teamwork


Conservation Projects & COVID-19 Guidelines


Poster Templates


Expanded Poster Template

Expanded Template

Classic Poster Template

Classic Template

StoryMap Poster Template

StoryMap Template



Intro to StoryMaps Webinar

View Webinar

Poster Development Webinar

View Webinar

Data Management Webinar

View Webinar

Additional Resources

Connecticut's Changing Landscape StoryMap

Explore 25 years of land cover and land cover change through an interactive ArcGIS StoryMap.


The EPA's environmental justice mapping and screening tool.

GIS & Conservation Presentation

Learn about the different ways GIS is important to conservation.

Bat Acoustic Monitoring

Watch this instructional video and borrow our recording equipment to become an expert in bat acoustic monitoring!
Tutorial Video

Connecticut Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO)

Online maps and tools for viewing CT's environmental and natural resources.
Reference Activity
Visit the CTECO Website

Insta360 ONE X

We can loan you an Insta360 ONE X camera to capture awesome 360-degree images for your project!

Camera Traps

Learn how to use a camera trap to record and monitor local wildlife!

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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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

Assistant 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; Doctor of Philosophy

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.