TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND SERVICE LEARNING
A primary end-product goal in each project was to develop a simple geologic map that could be incorporated into an on-site information display kiosk along with a self-guided tour of the park’s geology and natural history. Students involved not only gain early (freshman-sophomore) field skills, but they take ownership in a valuable and practical public education experience. Students work with public officials during each stage of the project while getting involved in their local community. This concept could easily be multidisciplinary with the involvement of a biology component for the site.
Other potential service learning related activities for student researchers could include presenting the project results to community representatives and leading field tours for the officials and the public. From this, students gain valuable communication experience and provide an important opportunity for local officials to experience the natural history values of these community parks.