The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) Long Term Ecological Research Project has three components:
BES III takes the transformation from the sanitary to the sustainable city as a major ongoing environmental shift that has the potential to affect all aspects of the city-suburban-exurban system of Baltimore. Sustainability is a socially agreed upon set of goals that accounts for environmental, social, and economic health of the total urban ecosystem. It necessarily incorporates social values. The new guiding question for BES flows from the sustainability focus, and employs a resilience framework that relies on adaptive processes in both the social and the biophysical aspects of the interacting urban system.
Focusing on sustainability plans, policies, and actions suggests three specific research areas: (1) How do adaptive processes change as the metropolis as a whole or as different segments within it evolve from a sanitary city approach to a sustainable city approach? (2) What scenarios do current and alternative policies aimed at sustainability suggest? (3) How can information exchange and education improve adaptive processes?
The educational component includes working with formal and informal education systems-contributing to and learning from these collaborations; creating new programs, educational opportunities and resources for students, educators and citizens; and conducting research about what people in Baltimore know about their city as an ecosystem. Developing and making the most of a broad range of educational opportunities satisfies the responsibility to share ecological knowledge with the widest audience.
The community engagement component of BES recognizes the responsibilities and opportunities of conducting research where people live. Community engagement includes communicating the work and benefits of BES to local as well as regional citizens through many means including presentations, tours, artists' observation and interpretation, and other community activities. Applying ecological knowledge to management, environmental quality, and environmental equity acknowledges society's needs.
Finally, the use of new ecological knowledge of urban systems in planning, design, and restoration provides important opportunities to test ecological theory, identify steps toward sustainability, and improve urban quality of life.
The Baltimore Ecosystem Study is a collaborative venture among researchers, educators, and practitioners from public and private institutions in Baltimore and elsewhere.
Participation in BES is open to any researcher, educator or policy and management practitioner who is conducting activities that lead to answering our guiding questions.
In addition to the requirements listed above, members are strongly encouraged to be active in the following ways:
If you want to participate in BES, please contact the Chair of the Project Management Committee and the Project Coordinator and provide them with a one-page description of what you would like to do. The Chair will share your request with the Project Management Committee and researchers or educators of the BES community whose interests may match or come close to your own. The goal of this process is to maximize complementary research and education efforts and to minimize duplication of activities.
Morgan Grove, BES Chair of the Project Management Committee, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by postal mail at the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Suite 350, 5523 Research Park Drive, Baltimore, MD 21228, by phone at 443-543-5380
Maribeth Rubenstein, BES Project Coordinator, can be reached by email at BESinfo@caryinstitute.org, by postal mail at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Box AB, 2801 Sharon Tpke, Millbrook, NY 12525, or by phone at 845-677-7600 extension 236.