2000 BES Abstracts

BES Education: Partnerships with schools, neighborhoods and scientists

Alan R. Berkowitz and Vicki O. Fabiyi

The BES School/Community Research Partnership Program (SCRPP) connects BES scientists, teachers, students and community groups in order to engage students in on-going studies of the local environment. Program teachers have tremendous interest and enthusiasm, and impressive expertise in inquiry-based teaching, but at the current time, they report that they do not teach outdoors frequently, nor do they teach very much about urban ecosystems. Concerns about having enough time to do field research and about fitting urban ecosystems into their curriculum are rated most significant, while concerns about their teaching skills are rated less important, in part reflecting the exceptional nature of this early group of participating teachers. For all teachers, learning more about spatial analysis as a way of teaching about and understanding urban ecosystems was rated highest among Partnership Program topics. As a result of the two week Urban Ecosystem Education Summer Institute, teachers produced action plans for the school year that will be summarized in our presentation. In several cases, teachers will be working as teams either within a school or between schools. The potential benefit of the students= and teachers= work for BES and for the local community will depend, in large part, on the degree of involvement of scientists and community representatives in shaping and implementing the action plans over the coming months.