Clevinger, Jennifer A. .
Incorporating Service Learning into Field Botany Courses Using Invasive Plants.
Service learning experiences, where students incorporate their classroom learning into community projects, are on the rise at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Some of these schools require that all students take a course with a service learning component to graduate. Studies have shown that students are more engaged when involved in service learning courses within their major. To meet this need at Walsh University where service learning is a general education requirement, I offer the only service-learning course targeted at biology majors. Students enroll in a 4-credit field botany course that meets for 4 weeks during the May term. Along with plant keying and identification, students complete a unit on invasive plants and then take their knowledge into the community to remove invasive plants from natural areas. For the first 3 weeks of class, the Walsh students visit field sites near campus to hone their identification skills. Then they travel to Camp Mowana near Mansfield, Ohio for 5 days to complete their service projects. Camp Mowana is a summer camp that is situated on 183 acres with hemlock gorges, beech-maple forest and a planted pine plantation. For the past 3 years students have worked to manually remove invasive garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) from the camp. They have also practiced their identification skills while compiling a checklist of the campís flora. Several species rare to Richland Co, Ohio were identified at the camp as a result of this work including Acer spicatum, Cystopteris bulbifera and Taxus canadensis. While interacting with the campís staff, some students have also developed age-appropriate nature activities for the campers. Students reflect on their service learning by presenting to the Walsh community on their experiences. The service learning component has attracted a number of students to the field botany class that would not have enrolled in it otherwise.
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1 - Walsh University, Math and Science, 2020 East Maple Street NW, North Canton, Ohio, 44720, U.S.A.
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 11:30 AM