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Missouri Environmental Education News May 2016

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Students participating in Washington University's Shaw Institute for Field Training -

One of the goals of environmental education is to help prepare the next generation of environmental professionals - scientists, engineers, technicians, and policy experts. MEEA Board member Susan Flowers shares her work on involving youth in authentic environmental research and restoration as a way to spark interest in these careers.

Early Entry into Ecology: Authentic Field Research Experiences for High School Youth. Flowers, Susan K. & Beyer, Katherine M. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America - Ecological Education K-12, January 2016 pp 111-122.

Abstract. Engaging pre-college youth in authentic field research experiences is important for supporting the entrance of young people into the environmental sciences. Here, we describe a model and outcomes for integration of career exploration programs into research and restoration imperatives of a university field station and a nature reserve. A progression of two partnered programs provide St. Louis area pre-college youth with field skills and then the opportunity to apply those skills in assistance to scientists on current research projects. The model provides for early entry inot the ecological research career pathway for the youth and creates beneficial connection of professional activities to broader impacts outreach for the scientists. Importantly, the model differs from many other ecology outreach efforts because the youth programs are integrated into research rather than operating as separate outreach programs.


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