2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


TOY, N. Alison, Environmental Sciences Teaching Program, University of California at Berkeley, 301 Campbell Hall MC 2922, Berkeley, 94720-2922, ANDREWS, Stephen P. and BERRY, William B.N., almond83@uclink.berkeley.edu

Education is a difficult field, maintaining any student's interest is an arduous task. In order to captivate young students' attention and to augment undergraduate education, the Environmental Sciences Teaching Program at the University of California, Berkeley implemented a plan of linking classroom, community, and learning in an outdoor setting. The Dow Wetland Preserve in Antioch, CA is an ecologically diverse 475-acre educational tool. Students from all over the East Bay utilize the wetland, spurring interest in earth science education and increasing community involvement, and also for indepth scientific research.

Berkeley undergraduates develop new interdisciplinary curriculum, integrating chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. An individual processes information in his or her own way, this site educates students using not only auditory and visual senses, but kinesthetics and other sensory aids. The Dow Wetland Preserve promotes hands-on learning for different students who process information in their own ways. Classes teach undergraduates concepts such as anoxia and Dow fittingly provides an outdoor lab where students take these concepts and apply them to a real world environment. All students constantly question the relevance of what they are taught; the wetland creates a more practical experience for college students' future endeavors. In the wetland, college students are able to master new scientific techniques: using advanced instruments for water quality data analysis and benthic taxa collection.

In addition, undergraduates expand their repertoire by educating youth. Under the stewardship of UC Berkeley's students and faculty, local students use the wetland as the science component of their school's curriculum. Undergraduates stimulate students, emphasizing inquiry based learning, reinforcing basic science skills, and relating it to everyday life. For students, elementary through college, this hierarchy of learning and teaching builds a foundation of knowledge for which they can pass on to their community. By linking community and their environment, any student can better grasp the relevance of academic concepts.