The value of education and outreach for science is probably far greater than we can measure. Outreach generates ambassadors for science and conservation as well as opening doors to potential funding opportunities. Sharing research is beyond a moral obligation of scientists to society, it allows science to grow. Most people pursue a carrier in science because of their wonder, enthusiasm for nature and personal connections to science, which are often promoted by informal science education at an early age. Inspired by its own life experiences as a child, Yara has been involved with outreach for more than 20 years.
Outreach and education projects have become increasingly important in research, not only to enable science to be understood by the public and decision makers, but also to collect data, which would otherwise be costly and time consuming. Citizens science programs such as with manta rays, humpback whales, sea turtles and whale shark photo identifications have provided a substantial amount of data for scientists to understand population patterns. New species are often discovered by nature enthusiasts and bought to scientists who then perform the formal descriptions. Long-term environmental monitoring programs are greatly enhanced by local citizen scientists, who are able to collect regular data.
Yara believes that teamwork and cooperation between scientists and non-scientists enables real world vision and discussion, improves lateral thinking and develops problem solving skills, making research matter for society.