Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm A, Albuquerque Convention Center
Carlos L. de la Rosa
In 1804, American explorers Lewis and Clark established a baseline for observational ecology with their transect from Missouri to Oregon. Forty years later, Henry Thoreau advanced our sense of long-term, systematic field observations with his research at Walden Pond. Some 150 years later, NEON promises to transform our ability to create continental-scale ecological monitoring, and also make it accessible to diverse constituents including K-12, graduate, and undergraduate students, policy-makers, and citizens. After several recent federal reports, Americans now recognize that our science education programs are not competitive in a global economy. How should ecology education be structured to meet the needs of the next generation, and to ensure that Americans prioritize sustainability and sound ecological stewardship in their actions? What balance between virtual and hands-on ecology should be taught in a cutting-edge ecological curriculum? How can we tackle the creation versus evolution controversy that is gaining momentum? What are the repercussions of the decline of the "-ologies" in ecology training? Can large-scale ecological projects be launched with parallel education and research platforms? And how can ecologists ensure a national program of ecological literacy by 2020? This symposium builds on the ideas of the 2008 Annual Meeting with its first-ever education theme, and will bring together a diverse panel of speakers representing continental-scale, individual-based, and policy-oriented topics affecting the future of ecology education. For the first time in American history, Congress recently passed legislation called "No Child Left Inside", allocating funds for environmental education. In "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," the American Academies stated that prosperity in the USA is directly linked to our investments in scientific research, with science education as the backbone of such advances. Are ecologists, and ESA as a professional entity, prepared to articulate a vision for ecology education in 2020? This question is the focus of a symposium, and subsequently forms the theme for an ESA-hosted Ecology Education Summit in 2010, that will bring together national leaders of diverse groups involved in this theme to share best practices. Our session will launch this important dialogue, stimulate individual ecologists to think about the priorities for ecology education, and work toward the creation of a national vision to foster transformational actions leading to continental-scale ecological literacy.
EHRC Emeritus Chair