The Integration of Ecological Restoration and Science Education: Opportunities for Progress in Both Practices

Stimis, Rachael, Environmental Sciences - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Macko, Stephen, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Demanding ecological and educational challenges face ecologists and educators. In the United States, science students are falling behind their global peers and disengaging from science curriculum at a time in which ecosystem degradation and land use change are threatening ecosystem integrity. Broad theoretical knowledge exists in both disciplines to address these challenges; however, the implementation of theory impedes progress. The integration of ecological restoration and science education creates opportunities for progress in both practices. Ecological restoration would benefit from increased assessment and monitoring of restored ecosystems through school-based citizen science networks and increased community engagement and acceptance of restoration projects. Science education would benefit from increased authenticity and relevancy in the classroom, increased student engagement, and the development of scientific and environmental literacy.

MA (Master of Arts)
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