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Current Activities

Thanks for joining our sessions at the ESA Annual Meeting and the 4DEE Extravaganza. 

4DEE Sessions during the ESA’s Annual Meeting August 3-6, 2020

Dates and times indicate live Q&A sessions. Click the links to learn more.

Monday, August 3rd, 2020|12:30 – 1:00 PM Eastern: OOS 51 – Teaching the Ecological Data Revolution in the Context of the 4DEE Framework  Organized by: Kenneth M. Klemow, Wilkes University, Co-organized by: Carmen R. Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University and Alan R. Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020|1:00 – 1:30 PM Eastern: Assess What’s Important: Creating 4DEE Aligned Assessments That Show How Students Use Their Ecological Knowledge Organized by: Amanda E. Sorensen, Michigan State University, Co-organized by: Jennifer H. Doherty, University of Washington and Diane Ebert-May, Michigan State University

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020|3:30 –  4:00 PM Eastern: 12th REEFS: Resources for Ecology Education, Fair and Share Organized by: Jennifer H. Doherty, University of Washington, Co-organized by: Tracy B. Gartner, Carthage College,  Kathleen Shea, St. Olaf College, Erica Schlickeisen Tietjen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America

Click here for the full list of Presenters at this years REEFS

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020|3:30 –  4:00 PM Eastern: Aligning Your Teaching with the Four-Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) Framework Organized by: Justin R. St. Juliana, Cornell University

Posters:

Transforming ecology major courses to meet the goals of the ESA-endorsed 4DEE curricular framework Authors: Carmen R. Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University, Alan R. Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Kimberly A. Bjorgo-Thorne, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Jennifer H. Doherty, University of Washington, Kenneth M. Klemow, Wilkes University, George Middendorf, Howard University, Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America, Vikki L. Rodgers, Babson College, and Amanda E. Sorensen, Michigan State University

Applying ESA’s 4DEE framework to guide the development of ecological literacy for non-majors Authors: Vikki L. Rodgers, Babson College, Alan R. Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Kimberly A. Bjorgo-Thorne, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Carmen R. Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University, Jennifer H. Doherty, University of Washington, Kenneth M. Klemow, Wilkes University, George Middendorf, Howard University, Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America, and Amanda E. Sorensen, Michigan State University

Watch this 5-minute video to get you ready for the upcoming 4DEE workshops!


REEFS 2020 Presenter Abstracts

1) A citizen science project: a two-campus collaboration between three undergraduate STEM courses

Author: Zakiya Leggett, North Carolina State University, zholmes@nullncsu.edu

Activity type: classroom activity

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: Incorporating citizen science in the undergraduate curricula provides students the opportunity to actively engage in the scientific process and contribute to the discovery of new evidence. This presentation aims to share an example of infusing citizen science into the course curricula for an Introduction to Environmental Science (NCSU), Environmental Problems (NCCU) and Biotechnology (NCSU) course as a collaborative effort designed to survey both university campuses for Delftia using the gold gene sequence as an identifier. 

We will discuss the genesis of the project; demonstrate how it developed into a two-campus project and highlight the products such as undergraduate presentations and publications; total number of students impacted, etc. Join us to brainstorm, develop or extend ideas for infusing citizen science projects in your courses as well the opportunity to connect and foster collaborations with faculty at your university or other local institutions. We also welcome feedback on our approach.

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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2) Data is the New Science: Exploring Digital Biodiversity Data

Author: Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University, monfi1ak@nullcmich.edu

Activity type: classroom activity

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: In this module, students will be introduced to some emerging biodiversity data resources. They will be asked to think critically about the strengths and utility of these data resources and then encouraged to think beyond the obvious to how these data could be used to answer big science questions. 

Students completing this module will be able to:

  • Access data from biodiversity digital data repositories
  • Evaluate the research utility of occurrence data derived from different sources.
  • Create and interpret a graph
  • Use geo-spatial data to inform biological thinking
  • Describe how a change in a system can impact multiple parts of a system
  • Explain how morphology, behavior, and physiology of a species can impact another species in a co-evolutionary relationship

Resource can be found at: https://qubeshub.org/qubesresources/publications/1138/1

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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3) Using Instagram to cultivate critical observation skills and connection to place

Author: Jennifer Blake-Mahmud, Colgate University, jblakemahmud@nullcolgate.edu 

Activity type: classroom activity

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: Observing natural phenomena is a critical skill for both scientists and the public. In scholarly, educational, and indigenous communities we have historically worked to cultivate this curiosity using a multitude of methods, most of them face-to-face.  Many of our students now highlight observations of their own worlds via social media platforms, but these feeds rarely focus on natural phenomena. Through guided practice and structured feedback, Instagram may be used as a novel method to hone critical observation skills inside and outside the classroom. Documenting evidence of specific biological phenomena in the natural world via Instagram provides a chance to cultivate student-centered mini-inquiries, to connect to place, and to create a connected community of curiosity. Instagram posts can subsequently be used in the classroom for discussions, for assessments, and for building connections across themes.

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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4) Ecology of North Maine Woods streams and riparian zones

Author: Kennedy Rubert Nason, University of Maine at Fort Kent, kennedy.rubertnason@nullmaine.edu 

Activity type: field course

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: We are developing a multi-day summer experiential learning program, in which multiple groups of 3-4 high school students, 1-2 university scholars, and 1-2 pre-/in-service teachers collaboratively learn about the natural history and ecology of the North Maine Woods, which is among the largest managed forests in the United States. This activity introduces participants to fundamental ecology and hydrology terms and concepts through a walking tour of a small steam (Schedule Brook) and canoeing tour of a large stream (Allagash River). University scholars will train participants to collect physical (e.g., flow, temperature), chemical (e.g., pH, dissolved oxygen), and biological data (e.g., species identity, diversity) in streams and associated riparian zones, and transmit those data to a publicly-accessible database. Guided by scholars and teachers, students will interpret their data to explain ecosystem structure and function, and predict the impacts of climate and landscape changes.

Extent this learning activity is developed: In development, has not been implemented in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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5) Carbon Storage in Deciduous Forests

Author: Jane Dell, Western Carolina University, jdell@nullwcu.edu  

Activity type: field course

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: In this two-part exercise students explore the amount of carbon stored in temperate deciduous forests through both standing biomass and litter fall. The first part involves establishing plots in forests to take tree diameter measurements and collect fallen leaf litter. The second, indoor part involves using allometric equations to convert dbh to measures of standing biomass and then adding in litter biomass. Goals of the exercise are to 1) Determine the average biomass and carbon in a forest from previously collected plot data and 2) Develop an understanding for the relationship between tree density and carbon storage. This could further be expanded into carbon sequestration and climate change as well as economic value of ecosystem services.

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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6) Exploring Public Data to Apply Ecological Concepts

Author: Jessica (Jes) Coyle, St. Mary’s College of California, jrc16@nullstmarys-ca.edu 

Activity type: classroom activity

Audience level: undergraduate students

Abstract: Biological and earth systems data are becoming increasingly accessible online and provide an opportunity to empower diverse students with the knowledge that public data are for everyone. I will introduce three undergraduate-level activities that ask students to apply ecological concepts through the exploration of online publicly accessible data. These are: (1) Global Carbon Flux Scavenger Hunt (utilizes the NASA WorldView application), (2) Climate-induced Shifts in California Butterflies (utilizes GBIF & NOAA data) and (3) Quantifying Communities with the Christmas Bird Count. These activities can be used in a classroom setting or for online asynchronous instruction. We will use these examples to initiate a discussion of the ways that we educators can incorporate public data sources into our lessons as well as tools and strategies that can facilitate this.  (Note: we can also focus on one activity, if that would fit better with the program.)

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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7) Introduction to wetlands: Basic principles, online mapping, and field identification

Author: Kenneth Klemow, Wilkes University, kenneth.klemow@nullwilkes.edu 

Activity type: classroom activity and field course

Audience level: undergraduate students

This activity, which follows the Ecological Society of America’s Four Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) approach, contains three components. The first is a Powerpoint presentation that provides background into the basic principles of wetlands, including the definition and classification of wetlands, their functions and values, and some legal aspects surrounding wetlands. The second component provides students with the opportunity to identify wetlands through the National Wetland Inventory maps produced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Those maps are online and freely available to the public. In the third component, students learn how to identify wetlands in the field. To do so, they travel to a site containing a known wetland. They examine vegetation, soils, and pattern of water flow in a portion of the site that is wetland and compare it to a portion that is not wetland.

Extent this learning activity is developed: Highly developed, implemented multiple times in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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8) Virtual Field Project: Ecosystem Exploration Videos

Author: Suzanne DeCoursey, Sonoma State University, decourse@nullsonoma.edu  

Activity type: field course

Audience level: undergraduate students

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing massive disruption to field education in the U.S. and internationally, and is forecast to continue to cause field course cancellations over the next year. The impacts of this disruption on STEM education is anticipated to be substantial. Field experiences boost motivation, retention, critical thinking and academic success for students of all backgrounds and disciplines (NRC 2014) and are particularly important for recruitment into the environmental sciences.

Building on a grassroots effort of 50 Field Stations and Marine Laboratories representing 34 field site networks (e.g., NEON, LTER, LTAR, GLEON), we will (among other objectives) create novel cross-site virtual field learning videos that boost critical observation and research skills. Educational goals for videos include providing students with a personal connection to the geography of diverse biomes, helping students acquire the skills to observe (see or hear evidence of) key ecological concepts in a variety of ecosystems, and developing students’ ability to see how evidence is linked to ecological concepts and to record field notes. Each non-narrated video, focusing on different terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats, is paired with a time-stamped datasheet for instructors that links the visual/audible evidence to 4DEEE concepts, and provides questions faculty can use to guide student viewing.

Extent this learning activity is developed: Newly developed, implemented once or twice in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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9) Janzen-Connell hypothesis of patterns of seedling dispersal

Author: George Middendorf, Howard University, gmiddendorf@nullhoward.edu 

Activity type:classroom activity

Audience level: undergraduate students

The module I will present is currently in development. It focuses on the Janzen-Connell hypothesis of patterns of seedling dispersal, the dynamics of seedling recruitment, and logging practices in the tropics.  The first part of the module discusses how patterns of dispersal can be used to infer underlying factors and mechanisms. With a focus on tropical tree species and communities, the second part looks at the resulting distributional mosaic and then leads to discussion of how constraints on logging impact the type of timber harvest practice used, e.g. clearcutting, shelterwood and selection harvesting. The goal of the module is to touch all four dimensions of the 4DEE framework. It will address ecological concepts related to organisms, populations and communities; to link to natural history, fieldwork, and quantitative reasoning; illustrate spatial and temporal aspects of ecology; and reveal human-environment interactions in terms of both human dependence on the environment and how humans shape and manage the environment. It’s a multifaceted, complex story that I hope will benefit from interaction with others who teach ecology.

Extent this learning activity is developed:In development, has not been implemented in a classroom, lecture or laboratory

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