Colloquia: SERNEC: Four years of development of a herbarium Research Coordination Network
Cooper, Chanda L. .
Kids Need Herbaria: Education Outreach at the University of South Carolina Herbarium.
As research increasingly identifies problems associated with the separation of children from nature, parents and educators are searching for ways to incorporate nature-based education into the K-12 curriculum. Herbaria are uniquely positioned to help bridge the gap between natural history, education, and childhood. At the University of South Carolina Herbarium, several education outreach initiatives have allowed us to contribute to the "re-naturalization" of K-12 education. These initiatives include participation in a teacher-training program, consultation with local school districts and environmental education centers during the development of outdoor classrooms and schoolyard habitats, and programs offered directly to K-12 students. These outreach efforts have proven beneficial to all involved.
School districts benefit by obtaining access to scientific expertise that can improve the quality of education and enhance the educational value of schoolyard habitats. Teachers benefit from the advanced "science content knowledge" herbaria can provide. Students who are impacted by herbarium outreach programs can gain a new appreciation for botany and science, in particular, while reaping the documented benefits of nature-based education. In a theoretical sense, plant communities also benefit from education outreach: students who study the natural world are more likely to become conservationists, and the publicity generated by many education outreach activities provides a vehicle for public promotion of issues related to plant diversity and conservation. Herbaria benefit from K-12 education outreach because such efforts raise public awareness, forge useful collaborations with other departments and agencies, and increase potential opportunities for funding. Opportunities for participating in K-12 education outreach are available to all herbaria, regardless of size, staffing, and funding constraints.
Even a small-scale herbarium K-12 education outreach component can provide invaluable benefits to students, teachers, school districts, the herbarium itself, and, ultimately, the environment.
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University of South Carolina Herbarium
USC Longleaf Environmental Learning Center
USC Center for Science Education
Children and Nature Network
1 - USC Herbarium, Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Ballroom C/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 2:00 PM