A twenty-six-year-old student from Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, Geanina Magdalena Sitar (pictured) has recently commenced a six-month scientific internship at the Museum of the Moravian Wallachia Region. During her stay, which is part of the project „Exploring the Fascinating World of Insects“, she intends to focus particularly on environmental education for children and field research on insects in our region. We interviewed Geanina about her further goals and initial impressions of her stay with us. You can read its Czech version HERE.

Why did you choose the Museum of the Moravian Wallachia Region for your scientific internship?

„My decision to pursue a scientific internship at The Wallachian Regional Museum stems from my strong passion for environmental education, particularly within this institution. I'm really impressed by the diverse range of workshops they offer for children, covering everything from social and cultural topics to scientific exploration, like the one focused on wildlife in the park. What really excites me, is the opportunity to delve into innovative teaching methods, especially when it comes to highlighting the importance of insects. Additionally, I'm intrigued by the prospect of exploring the history of Romanian Valahi, who used to come here in ancient times.“

Please provide an overview of the project 'Exploring the Fascinating World of Insects.

„This project is part of my doctoral research in Education Sciences. While my background is in biology, focusing primarily on the study of butterflies and moths, my doctoral studies delve into ecological education concerning insects. This opportunity was made possible through the support of the Romanian Ministry of Education, facilitated by the Credit and Scholarship Agency. As we all know, education plays a crucial role in the conservation of insects, which are currently experiencing a significant decline. Through my research, I aim to investigate effective methods of integrating ecological education into programs tailored for children, emphasizing insect conservation. This includes exploring innovative teaching strategies, such as hands-on activities, outdoor learning experiences, and interactive educational materials, to engage and inspire young learners about the importance of insects in ecosystems.“

How long will the internship last, and what specifically would you like to focus on during it?

„This internship will last for 6 months, during which I aim to accomplish the following objectives: collecting data on attitudes towards insects, both among museum employees and teachers collaborating with the museum. This data will help me describe the ecological culture of the population in this region. Participation in educational programs, both cultural and those dedicated to natural sciences, is another important objective. I intend to collect data on how these programs are conducted, how interaction between educators and the public occurs, and what content is used. Furthermore, I'm enthusiastic about creating a Guide of Best Practices for Children as a key aspect of my project. Drawing from my active involvement in workshops and insightful discussions with museum experts, this guide seeks to provide practical recommendations customized for implementing educational methods in Romanian schools. Additionally, we aim to consolidate all gathered insights, including those from museum educators and my doctoral supervisor, to craft the guide for children. This guide will serve as a valuable tool in educating about insects and promoting their conservation."

What are your initial impressions of your stay in our region?

„My initial impressions of your region are quite positive. I've been impressed by the natural beauty and the warmth of the people I've encountered so far. Despite the weather not being the most favorable, the natural landscape has left a strong impression on me, I am eagerly awaiting warmer weather to explore more of the natural habitats and, of course, to immerse myself in observing the butterflies here.“

What specifically has impressed you the most about the museum, or our region, so far?

„I've been particularly impressed by the diverse range of exhibits at the museum and how they offer insights into the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region. Additionally, the efforts to engage visitors through interactive displays and educational programs have been remarkable. In the first days, I had the privilege of participating in a workshop where children were initiated into the secrets of the traditional bread of the Czechs from the past. What was truly fascinating was that, before providing them with information about this beautiful tradition, the children were actively involved in the process of preparing the bread. This direct experience made the learning much deeper and more memorable for them, allowing them to feel and experience the tradition in a very special way.“