Teaching in the Tropics: US Science Teachers Invited to Apply for 2015 ECO Classroom

Northrop Grumman Foundation and Conservation International call for applications from science teachers for the fourth annual ECO Classroom professional development program 12 марта 2015, 14:01
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – March 6, 2015 – In their continuing effort to help teachers develop the next generation of scientists, Northrop Grumman Foundation and Conservation International (CI) announced that applications for the 2015 ECO Classroom experience are now being accepted through March 31. Four teams of four teachers will be selected for an all-expenses-paid trip from August 2-15 to join scientists in Costa Rica conducting fieldwork in a tropical forest.

ECO Classroom, in its fourth year of implementation, is a unique and innovative nationwide professional development program designed for public school science teachers from grades 6 through 12. It was created by the Northrop Grumman Foundation in collaboration with CI. ECO Classroom offers teachers supplemental tools and real-world experiences to inspire students to pursue science and technical careers.

The ECO Classroom program brings groups of public school teachers from across the United States to CI's Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network Volcan Barva site in Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica. Throughout the two week program, teachers live and work at the La Selva Biological Research Station where they learn field data collection techniques to measure plant and animal biodiversity as well as changes in climate and land use using TEAM scientific protocols.

"Going to La Selva was such a wonderful experience for me," said Robin Rumery, a former participant in the program. "I use the information and activities from Costa Rica in my lessons as often as I can and last year I got a grant for my very own camera traps! The students loved it! We have been doing diversity studies on the wet pine savanna behind our school for both species richness and species evenness."

It is widely acknowledged among educators and policymakers that insufficient numbers of students are entering into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. A method to address this issue and emphasize environmental stewardship is to motivate educators to engage students in the sciences and to bring unique learning opportunities into their classrooms with real-world curricula and hands-on experiences, such as ECO Classroom. During the 2014 two-week expedition, 16 ECO Classroom teachers from across the U.S. conducted group projects in the field and created lessons based on their projects dealing with land use, forest carbon sequestration and natural resource management using TEAM scientific protocols. They returned to their schools with an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between biodiversity, climate change and human activities, and were better equipped with new techniques and resources to enhance their classroom teaching.

Since 1987, Conservation International has been working to improve human well-being through the care of nature. With the guiding principle that nature doesn't need people, but people need nature for food, water, health and livelihoods—CI works with more than 1,000 partners around the world to ensure a healthy, more prosperous planet that supports the well-being of people. Learn more about CI and the "Nature Is Speaking" campaign, and follow CI's work on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation are committed to expanding and enhancing the pipeline of diverse, talented STEM students globally. They provide funding to STEM programs that span from preschool to high school and through collegiate levels, with a major emphasis on middle school students and teachers. In 2014, Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation continued outreach efforts by contributing millions of dollars to diverse STEM-related groups such as the Air Force Association (CyberPatriot), Conservation International (ECO Classroom), the REC Foundation (VEX Robotics) and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation supports diverse and sustainable programs for students and teachers. These programs create innovative education experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For more information, please visit www.northropgrumman.com/foundation.