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CIRES | Education and Outreach

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Lesley Smith

Lesley Smith

Professional development of teachers and scientists. Dr. Smith has research experience in biogeo-chemistry of freshwater and marine environments. She currently focuses on inquiry based teaching.


Professional development of teachers and scientists

Lesley Smith has a Ph.D. in Marine Environmental and Estuarine Sciences from the University of Maryland. She came to CU in 1989 as a research scientist, and her research focused on biogeochemical cycles of large wetlands ecosystems such as the Amazon, Orinoco and MacKenzie Rivers. She is now an Outreach Scientist and Associate Director of CIRES Education and Outreach. Her projects involve training scientists - both at the graduate and professional levels - to work with science teachers, and teacher professional development (TPD) focused on inquiry-based teaching. She has served as PI or co-PI on two NSF GK-12 grants that placed Teaching Fellows in BVSD science classrooms. She also was PI of a COSEE Collaborative grant, which focused on TPD of California and Colorado teachers and showed the linkage of the ocean, weather and climate. Lesley oversees Water Spotters, a citizen science project, with CIRES professor David Noone where K-12 students collect water samples for isotopic analysis to be analyzed at CU for development of a Front Range water budget. Lesley is currently PI of the NSF-funded REU grant, Research Experience for Community College students in Critical Zone Science (RECCS), and she is co-PI of the NSF-funded ITEST grant, Lens on Climate Change in Colorado (LOCC).  Lesley loves being in the field and is always happy to expose people, both young and old, to the fun and wonder of aquatic ecosystems.

Lesley served on Boulder Valley School District's Board of Education from 2005-2013.

Lesley serves on the Policy Committee of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

Lesley is currently serving on City of Boulder Water Resources Advisory Board from 2014-2019, and she was appointed to serve as the liasion to the Greenways Program.