Christina Colon | Civic Ecology: Blurring the Roles of Scientist and Activist through Citizen Science in an Ecology Elective, Department of Biology
This six hour laboratory course is an elective for biology majors interested in studying local and global ecosystems, and the organisms that inhabit them. The class includes lectures and discussion, multi-media, group activities, field trips and guest lectures. Students must participate in class discussions and stay abreast of current issues in ecology. The class civic engagement component involves citizen science research on horseshoe crabs, requiring a commitment of no less than 6 hours of volunteer time outside of class. An independent inquiry investigation group assignment entails an investigation of a population of living organisms on or around campus (ants, crabs, gulls, cats, weeds, etc.). Students will generate a scientific research question. They will then design and carry out a short experiment, collect data, draw conclusions based on the data, graph and present their findings, and write a lab report summarizing their findings. A research report on a local species must include a description of the environmental concern, issue or debate related to this species, information on its taxonomy, ecology and habitat, possible solutions to protect/preserve/control this species along with associated challenges and how this species impacts the student.