Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Environmental Literacy at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Environmental literacy provides people with the information they need to participate in discussions about managing the resources we all rely upon.  Some projects educate elementary students, others high school and university students, and some help provide citizens with the information they need to play a role in policy decision making.  From educating about the ecology of their backyards to teaching about our most pressing environmental issues, the following projects are a sample of the education and outreach done at NREL.

DNA DragonflyPathways to Environmental Literacy

In this Math and Science Program project supported by the National Science Foundation, several universities collaborated to create culturally relevation lessons in ecology that adopt a learning progressions approach.  Three strands provide a framework, increasing the literacy of students and others in carbon, water, and biodiversity.

Northern Colorado - Global Climate Change EducationNDVI of beetle-killed forests

In a project supported by the NASA Global Climate Change Education Project, a group of research scientists at Colorado State University worked with teachers and students at the Poudre and Greeley-Evans School Districts in northern Colorado to create teaching modules. These modules use remote sensing datasets from NASA that teachers may use to instruct students about climate change.

MSP Live Data Collection Server

MSP Data Server LogoThe MSP Live Data Collection Server allows teachers to create their own environmental literacy assessments, and have students take those assessments online.   Since 2009, more than 20,000 users from more than 150 institutions have participated by creating or taking exams. - Citizen Science

Citizen scientists collect supports citizens in their own science.  Visitors may create their own projects, where trained volunteers and scientists can manage their data and leverage other available datasets to answer local, regional, and global questions.  Together, citizens inform natural resource decisions, advance scientific understanding, and improve environmental education. 

Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network
RMSSN LogoThe RMSSN is a research coordination network focused on undergraduate  biology education with a focus on public lands.  The RMSSN uses the Rocky Mountains as a laboratory to engage underrepresented students in the science around sustainability.  RMSSN is funded by NSF. 
The Global Women Scholars Network
The Global Women Scholars Network (GWSN) is a collaborative research network focused on promoting women in  and sthe cholarship on women in sustainability.  The GWSN is an international group of institutions that uses collaborative networks to foster women scholars, mentor students and others and create literacy for women on sustainability issues.  Information is available through Facebook, Wordpress, and Youtube.  
Bridging the Gap Between Humans and Wildlife in Rural Tanzania
This project aims to establish a foundation of support for conservation in rural communities by providing local people with the novel opportunity to visit nearby Ruaha National Park.  Participants are taught general facts about the animal species encountered in the park, including the life history and behavioral ecology of large mammals, as well as general information about food web dynamics.