Elgin High School hosts its annual National Biodiversity Teach-In, 10 years after launch of student-led event

A new group of students at Elgin High School are continuing an initiative started 10 years ago aimed at raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

With webinars led by renowned scientists, the National Biodiversity Teach-In focuses on issues both near (plastic pollution in the Great Lakes) and far (pollutants in the Arctic) and aims to inspire its participants to to take environmental protection measures.

The National Biodiversity Teach-In offers more than 25 webinars on Fridays in February, all of which are free and open to the public.

Other topics at this year’s teach-in include arctic plants, Great Lakes reefs and native plants, as well as presentations on polar bears, wolves, elephants, snow leopards, amphibians, sharks, whales and bats.

As in previous years, Teach-In 2023 is expected to attract environmental scientists as well as entire classrooms of students from around the world.

Over the years it has registered more than 110,000 participants from more than 27 countries.

Environmental students at Elgin High School have been working on Teach-In 2023 for several months under the guidance of several teachers.

The student organizers delegate the event tasks through committees. They troubleshoot technology issues, register attendees, respond to media inquiries, advertise and create promotional materials.


Elgin High Senior Sabrina Gomez is a member of Teach-In’s “Actions Team” responsible for identifying opportunities for webinar viewers to learn more or get more involved.

“I hope more than anything that the teach-in creates awareness of our world. The majority of the Earth’s most vital issues go unnoticed,” said Sabrina. “I hope viewers of the webinars go home with a sense of purpose; with an aim to spread the message of the Teach-In and to do their part to care for our unique, vital earth and its inhabitants – human and non-human.”

The webinars will take place on Fridays, February 3-24 during the school day.

Each speaker will give a presentation based on their area of ​​expertise and will also include time for questions and answers.

As in previous years, the teach-in will include a day of sessions with almost all female speakers on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly to encourage a new generation of women scientists to meet the big challenges of our time by driving innovation in science and technology.

Jillian Morris from Sharks 4 Kids will speak about it as part of the National Biodiversity Teach-In 2023 "shark science" on Friday February 10th.  Pictured is a shark swimming around the Wild Reef Exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

As part of the 2023 National Biodiversity Teach-In, Sharks 4 Kids’ Jillian Morris will be speaking on “Shark Science” on Friday February 10th. Pictured is a shark swimming around the Wild Reef Exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
– Daily Herald file photo

Among the women speaking on Friday, February 10 are Jillian Morris, a marine biologist and shark conservationist; dr Bonnie Hamilton, an ecotoxicologist who studies pollutants in the Arctic; dr Thea Bechshoft, a marine mammal biologist studying polar bear ecology; and Deanna Leonard, a marine biologist who focuses on whales as ecosystem engineers.

This year, the student organizers of the teach-in have made an effort to add programs on topics suitable for the masses.

For example, Rebecca Shaw, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President at the World Wildlife Fund, will conclude the program on February 24 at 2 p.m. Central Standard Time on the status of global biodiversity.

“We have a very exciting slate of speakers with a wide range of expertise, including people who study ecosystems and how humans affect everything,” said EHS science teacher Brigid Trimble, who created the event back in 2013. “It’s very good. It’s encouraging to see and hear from these scientists and to feel the enthusiasm they show for their field of study.”

The webinars first began at Elgin High School in 2013 to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity. The 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction in 2014 and the story of Martha, the last known living passenger pigeon, fueled the students’ interest and desire to discuss biodiversity with some of the best experts in the field.

To learn "Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migration Population: Saving a Species from Extinction" with moderator Stephanie Schmidt on Friday, February 17th, as part of the National Teach-In Biodiversity 2023.

Learn about “Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population: Saving a Species from the Brink of Extinction” at the National Biodiversity Teach-In on Friday, February 17, with moderator Stephanie Schmidt.
– AP file photo

The Teach-In website at provides a full schedule and details of the speakers and topics discussed. Those who register to attend a webinar will receive a personalized Zoom link.

Webinars will also be streamed live on the day of the event on the Teach-In social media channels at,, or www.facebook. com transfer /natbioteachin.

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