ESA Workshop Integrates Education into Continental-Scale Ecology Experiments
The Ecological Society of America will present a workshop October 2-4 in Washington, D.C. that will introduce faculty from U.S. colleges and universities to continental-scale ecological data sets for use as a teaching tool. During the workshop, researchers and educators will work together to outline novel ways to organize large quantities of data for use in the classroom.
“This workshop will allow educators to explore new approaches for teaching environmental sciences enabled by continental-scale data, while allowing the National Ecological Observatory Network a unique perspective of how it can work with the education community to promote innovative teaching techniques,” says Brian Wee, Chief of External Affairs at NEON, Inc. and part of the resource team that will guide educators in the workshop.
NEON is a nationwide research program that aims to discover and understand the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on ecology. Using a constellation of fixed and mobile scientific devices that operate across the United States, NEON will gather long-term data on ecological responses to climate change, land-use change and invasive species at the continental scale. The project will collect data for at least 30 years that will be available to ecological scientists across the U.S.
In the workshop, twenty-one faculty members, all from undergraduate institutions or universities serving significant minority populations, will spend two days working with data amassed within existing long-term data sets, including databases maintained by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the multi- institutional EcoTrends Project, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service.
“The workshop will provide recommendations to the NEON team about how its data can be best presented or packaged to build the skills needed to anticipate ecosystem change and scientific needs,” says Teresa Mourad, Director of Education and Diversity Programs at ESA. “The ability to use such real-time, continental-scale data will move students into the forefront of ecological research.”
The workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation and is also co-sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Ecological Society of America is the world's largest professional organization of ecologists, representing 10,000 scientists in the United States and around the globe. Since its founding in 1915, ESA has promoted the responsible application of ecological principles to the solution of environmental problems through ESA reports, journals, research, and expert testimony to Congress. ESA publishes four print journals and one online-only, open-access journal Ecosphere and convenes an annual scientific conference. Visit the ESA website at www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at www.esa.org/pao/rrt.
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