SS 17
Expanding Diversity in the Next Generation of Ecology: What Works to Recruit, Matriculate, and Retain Disadvantaged Youth in Undergraduate Degrees in Ecological Degree Programs?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
315, Baltimore Convention Center
Leah R. Gerber, Arizona State University
Beth Tellman, Arizona State University
Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America; Maclovia Quintana, Yale University; Nyeema Harris, University of Michigan; Brigitte Griswold, The Nature Conservancy; Kristin Rowell, University of Washington; Marlene Kaplan, NOAA; and Jane Wolfson, Towson University
A key challenge in 21st-Century ecology is a growing social divide in how different communities perceive and value nature. Indeed, nature has become a foreign concept to younger generations, especially those from underserved urban communities.  This social inequality in our exposure to and valuation of nature has broad implications for the future of our earth.  It is therefore of critical importance to develop innovative educational programs that provide youth from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds with basic literacy in ecological sustainability. 

During this two-hour session, we will discuss the obstacles underserved youth face in pursuing ecological education at the college level as well as environmental careers, and explore programs designed to address these issues. We will engage leaders from a range of youth engagement programs to discuss challenges, opportunities, and commonalities among each program.  Potential discussion themes include repairing the pipeline for youth engagement in ecology in higher education, exploring corporate partnerships, and engaging alumnae to share stories.

After presentations from our panel, workshop participants will share additional experiences and stories, and discuss ways to innovate new effective programs or to build on existing ideas.   If sufficient interest, the participants may choose to write a journal article of the results.

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