Environmental Literacy at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Environmental literacy provides people with the information they need to participate in discussions about managing the resources we all rely upon. Some projects educate elementary students, others high school and university students, and some help provide citizens with the information they need to play a role in policy decision making. From educating about the ecology of their backyards to teaching about our most pressing environmental issues, the following projects are a sample of the education and outreach done at NREL.
In this Math and Science Program project supported by the National Science Foundation, several universities collaborated to create culturally relevation lessons in ecology that adopt a learning progressions approach. Three strands provide a framework, increasing the literacy of students and others in carbon, water, and biodiversity.
In a project supported by the NASA Global Climate Change Education Project, a group of research scientists at Colorado State University worked with teachers and students at the Poudre and Greeley-Evans School Districts in northern Colorado to create teaching modules. These modules use remote sensing datasets from NASA that teachers may use to instruct students about climate change.
The MSP Live Data Collection Server allows teachers to create their own environmental literacy assessments, and have students take those assessments online. Since 2009, more than 20,000 users from more than 150 institutions have participated by creating or taking exams.
CitSci.org supports citizens in their own science. Visitors may create their own projects, where trained volunteers and scientists can manage their data and leverage other available datasets to answer local, regional, and global questions. Together, citizens inform natural resource decisions, advance scientific understanding, and improve environmental education.