Rocky Mountain Section - 65th Annual Meeting (15-17 May 2013)

6
EARTHVIEW A GLOBAL RESEARCH STEM INITIATIVE

Paper No. 6-1
Presentation Time: 1:05 PM

EARTHVIEW A GLOBAL RESEARCH STEM INITIATIVE


BLAIR, Robert Jr, Mountain Studies Institute, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO 81301, blair_r@fortlewis.edu
According to the National Center for Education Statistics 6% of US 9th graders will end up with a STEM degree from college. This is in contrast with 47% from China, 38% from Korea and 28% from Germany. The World Economic Forum ranks the US 48th in the world in quality of math and science education. EarthView is a program designed to reverse these trends. EarthView is an after school activity focused on a research initiative of documenting and understanding environmental change. Participants are Middle and High School students “junior scientists” doing real research. The program leaders are scientists and engineers that volunteer their expertise to guide student teams at local schools as they conduct their research. Workshops are provided to train the volunteers. The program loosely follows the format of the long successful Junior Achievement program popular in many cities across the US. EarthView is a nonprofit project organized by the Mountain Studies Institute and funded by a collective of industry, NGOs, federal, state and community entities. The research focuses on documenting over decades changes in the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. The research utilizes digital cameras, smart phones, pads and other instruments to measure environmental parameters such as temp, pH, tree girth, stream widths, discharge, local weather data, bird counts and other. Operational and research protocols will follow prescribed templates, but the individual projects will be determined by the students themselves. Each student project requires the articulation of a research question(s) and hypotheses. The imagery and data collected will be organized, edited and uploaded to a universal internet platform for storage and redistribution. The program is designed to attract students interested in STEM subjects and being part of a global EarthView project. After decades of monitoring the data can be analyzed for trends and magnitudes. The goal is to increase the likelihood of participants to follow a STEM career, but it also gets participants out of doors, do real science, and understand how natural systems work.