Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2017 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Project Birdland: A Collaborative Platform to Explore Action-Based Research Methods in Urban Socio-Ecological Systems
Hametz, Isaac
Co-Authors: Isaac Hametz, Dr. Christine Brodsky, Bess Caplan

Abstract: In 1962, H.T. Odum observed that “Past emphasis in research on physiology, horticulture, and husbandry of single species in systems involving man may not enable us to predict results where diversity, complexity, and self-sustaining complexes are needed without large energy subsidies.” This recognition spurred a period of growth in the fields of ecological engineering and urban ecology that continues to this day. However, with more than 50% of the world’s population living in urban centers in which complexity and heterogeneity reign and where the risks of climate change outpace adaptation measures, it is essential to develop new platforms for action-based research that mobilize scientific and civic institutions. This presentation will describe the instruments and impacts of Project Birdland, a collaborative platform that is piloting innovative design-based environmental education and action in Baltimore City Public Schools. Between 2015 and 2017, Project Birdland brought teacher training, an in-classroom ecological design challenge, and community-build day to the Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood.