Environmental Service Learning and Community Partnerships: Applying Science-Based Solutions to Urban Environmental Problems
The IUPUI Center for Earth and Environmental Science utilizes local field research sites and community partners to conduct service learning with introductory earth and environmental science students.
Environmental service learning engages introductory students in environmental stewardship activities relevant to course concepts.
Strengths: Work day activities further CEES research goals, benefit community partners and public park lands, and relate course topics to ongoing research and community issues.
- Watershed concepts and management techniques (link to Hypoxia in Gulf of Mexico)
- Biogeochemistry and sediment metal transport and deposition
- Function of riparian systems
- Classification and function of wetlands
- Population studies of flora (invasive exotic species vs. native plants, species vs. individuals, species diversity)
- Population studies of fauna (birds, butterflies, dragonflies, wildlife habitat)
- Adverse human impacts on the environment
- Environmental restoration
- Water quality (combined sewer overflows, benefits of riparian corridors)
- Conducting field research
- Collecting data
Higher Order Thinking Skills:
- Drawing conclusions from data
- Connection between classroom theory and concepts and applied learning
- Scientific report writing
- Environmental stewardship
- Group instruction is tailored to introductory undergraduate earth and environmental science students with little background knowledge.
- The work day activities are utilized as applied teaching tools for geologic and environmental concepts.
Role of Activity in a Course:
- Stand alone
- Students choose between the service learning project and writing a summary report, integrating course concepts to the work day activites (or)
- Researching and writing a paper applicable to course concepts
Data, Tools and LogisticsRequired Tools:
When working with community partners, clear goals and objectives for the partnership and work day projects are essential for a successful program. Well planned and organized partnerships, work days, and field instruction benefit all parties involved.