Enhancing Scientific Literacy Through Environmental Science: Developing Scientists and Citizens
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Graduate Fellows infuse research into the content they teach and enhance students’ ability to think critically and analyze scientific information. Fellow Amy Dechen uses her research in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to teach past and current adaptive management strategies associated with CWD outbreak in whitetail deer. She introduces students to the causative agent, history, and current research associated with CWD, and continues with students reading the scientific article “Fire in the Sistine Chapel: How Wisconsin Responded to CWD” by T. A. Heberlein. She uses a case study to help students understand how ecology/ecosystems, sustainability, human culture, and policy are interrelated. Amy has adapted this presentation for middle school students (grades 5-6), high school students (grades 9-12), parents, community leaders, politicians, and news media. The key skills acquired by Amy and all graduate fellows are communicating complex scientific material to a wide range of audiences, evaluating audience comprehension and interest, engaging audience participation, and providing meaningful and relevant scientific information to people with varying backgrounds and interests.