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'Dr. Scott' Visits Milwaukee to Connect Kids to Nature

Scott Sampson, Facebook
Paleontologist Scott Sampson

If you’re under age 10 or the parent of someone who is, the name “Doctor Scott” is likely a name you’ll associate with science.

The doctor is actually paleontologist Scott Sampson. Besides his starring role in the PBS series Dinosaur Train, Sampson is the chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as well as a leading thinker in how to connect nature to people – especially children.  That’s what he’ll be doing in Milwaukee this Saturday at Lakeshore State Park, where the 10th annual Sturgeon Fest will take place.

Sampson believes there are very basic ways to increase eco-literacy and evo-literacy in both children and adults.

"Start telling the story of the universe through our local place," he says. "If we think about indigenous peoples, they understand the universe through local place – mountains and oceans and birds and plants. And we need to start doing the same thing, but grounding it in science."

"I make it very clear that parents and teachers do not need to be nature experts...Having the answers often is not the thing you want to have, it's the questions that are more important than the answers," Sampson says.

So, why is the rock star paleontologist coming to Milwaukee for Sturgeon Fest? At about 20-million years old, sturgeon are the oldest and largest species of fish in the Great Lake and  one of the few remaining living artifacts from the dinosaur age. Human influence cause their population in Lake Michigan to drop dramatically.

Sampson will give a free presentation on the Summerfest grounds on Saturday.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.