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UDaily: Computer science students collaborate with environmental educator

UDaily: Computer science students collaborate with environmental educator

As an environmental educator, Maggie Pletta wants children to learn about estuaries, which are bodies of water found where rivers meet the sea. But she knows that kids are a lot more likely to learn from computer games with names like Swamp Sweeper and Estuary Adventure than they are from books, lectures or posters.

Pletta recently partnered with the University of Delaware’s Terry Harvey to provide Pletta with a suite of interactive games that she can incorporate into her work with the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) while offering Harvey’s computer science students practical experience with a real client.

“Maggie and her team at the St. Jones Reserve are currently redesigning the exhibit space on a very limited budget,” says Harvey, who is an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. “By partnering with us, she was able to get the educational products she needs while helping prepare our students for the workplace.”

The health of estuaries, which support abundant life and diverse habitats, is affected by human activities including overfishing, construction of piers and other structures, the introduction of invasive species, and human and industrial pollution.