2801 Sharon Turnpike; P.O. Box AB Millbrook NY 12545-0129, USA
Dr. Berkowitz's research interests include defining and measuring ecological and ecosystem literacy and their role in environmental citizenship; understanding how ecology is best taught and learned; exploring the factors that influence interest in ecology and in careers in academia; and the ecology of schoolyards and urban ecosystems. He is the Head of Education at the Cary Institute, is the Education Team Leader for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, and is a co-director of the Environmental Science Literacy Project.
Ecosystem is one of the most enduring and powerful concepts in ecology. How can people become adept at thinking about and understanding ecosystems? We have been collaborating with scientists and educators to more clearly define these and related goals for ecology education, and then to develop metrics for assessing literacy among various groups.
This project focuses on coupled human-ecosystem interactions in the context of socio-ecological systems as a framework to promote place based learning and environmental literacy. It seeks to increase students understanding of global water and carbon cycling, as well as biodiversity.
Incorporating secondary data into ecology can provide students with a way of supporting their claims from smaller research projects and connecting their work with the real world. In addition to providing units that include secondary data, these materials also highlight the ecological nature of science by providing lessons that help students think like an ecologist.
The vitality of the field of ecology depends upon a diverse and well-trained workforce. The ways we frame problems, seek solutions and apply knowledge depend upon having a scientific community with diverse strengths, perspectives, thinking styles, backgrounds, interests and concerns.
It is known that grounding educational practice in a local ecosystem provides students with the ability to see the relevance and context of what they are learning, and to become more engaged in the learning process. We have developed a number of our curriculum and professional development projects with these ideas in mind.
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343