Hilu, Khidir W. .
Botanizing the Alps Summer Course: A Valuable exposure to Botany and Culture.
The botanical aspect of biology tends to be de-emphasized in classes both at the high school and undergraduate level. The result of this bias has impacted not only studentís knowledge of plants but also recognition of the significant and multirole plants play in our existence, individually and collectively. Botanizing the Alps and Mediterranean region is a study abroad summer course with students from across disciplines and with a focus on understanding and appreciating the green part of biodiversity. Students from biology to history and geography, generally with minimal or even embarrassing levels of botanical experiences, join this field course to the Swiss Alps and Mediterranean Italy. They are exposed to rich but contrasting plant diversities and ecosystems. Plants are studied in a multidisciplinary approach that includes taxonomy, evolution, reproductive strategies, ecological adaptations, environmental impact, and contributions to humanity. A term paper and powerpoint presentation relating to these subjects are required from each student. The outcome of the experience has been quite rewarding for students in terms of increasing their depth appreciation of plants and their intricate biology. As a result of the experience, a number of students switched to a botanical field or at least conducted a research project on plants. The course also provides multiple opportunities for cross-cultural education, including interaction with faculty and students from European universities that provided a valuable exposure to student life and education system there.
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1 - Virginia Tech, Biological Sciences, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 1:45 PM