ENCOURAGING SCIENTIFIC LITERACY THROUGH EXTENDED NATURAL HISTORY FIELD TRIPS THAT FOCUS ON INTEGRATED SCIENCE
We have successfully employed this approach in three diverse areas: the Natural History of (1) the Pacific Northwest (2) the Colorado Plateau and (3) Tropical Carbonate Systems. These extended field trips range from 10 days to 4 weeks in length. Instructors with expertise in geology, biology, archeology, botany, range management, and environmental science have participated. As an example of one such trip, geology, biology, and environmental science students from our two institutions studied, and are presently involved in a long-term analysis of, a lagoon on San Salvador, Bahamas. The lagoon is a classic example of a small "carbonate factory", a nursery for barracuda, and a natural system beginning to experience potentially degrading impact from nearby human development. Our interdisciplinary students are working together to monitor the abundance and distribution of calcareous algae, the principle carbonate producers; turtle and manatee grass distribution; the principle sediment baffling and trapping agents in the lagoon; and, the water chemistry near the distal end of the lagoon, where new housing developments are being planned.