Watershed Wisdom: An Environmental Science Curriculum Rooted in Place, Experience, and Research
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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Effective environmental education presents students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of the natural world and their relationship to that complex system. Additionally, it provides them with the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle the many challenges that confront the environment in the 21st Century. Leading research in the field of environmental education (EE) continues to point to the fact that the most effective EE programs engage students through a place-‐based, experiential curriculum that includes a variety of perspectives and experiences. The purpose of this project was to respond to this academic research through the creation of an interdisciplinary, place-‐ based, and experiential environmental science curriculum for Shorewood High School’s Watershed Wisdom program. The educational experiences included in this project were designed to engage students through academic work, through direct experience in field ecology, and through an adventure component in which the students applied their understanding of ecological systems during an 11-‐day expedition through the Milwaukee River Watershed. The Methods section of this document includes an exhaustive inventory of the environmental science resources created for Watershed Wisdom and the course outline demonstrates the chronological order in which they were used throughout the semester. The conclusion section considers the effectiveness of this curriculum in its first year of use and possible opportunities for revision and expansion in the future.