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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

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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UConn Course & Internship

Environmental Storytelling - Fall '23 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...

A student using her camera to create a video
Image credit: Sean Flynn/UConn Photo

EDS Internship - Spring '24 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 taking picture outdoors
Image credit: Sean Flynn/UConn Photo


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

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.