Environmental Education


The Case of Environmental Education for Children
Mary Greagan

Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Humans are one of the most pervasive vectors of invasive species spread which can be accelerated through different behaviors and pathways as a result of a lack of education and understanding. One of the most effective management efforts undertaken to fight invasive species spread and prevent further infestations is through education and advocacy. Currently, there are several educational resources dedicated to invasive species history, identification, and prevention. These resources range from school curriculums created for State School systems, to regional and national toolkits that contain lessons, identification resources, and activities for students ranging from elementary to adults. While resources exist for teachers/educators, and nature groups, there is an opportunity for other invasive species education to be created and available for young children, especially outside of an academic setting. This poster will provide a review of current  programs dedicated to environmental and invasive species education, discuss the efficacy of environmental education on today’s youth, and outline the creation and establishment of a new invasive species education program designed for the Girl Scouts of the USA

Professionals’ and Students’ Perceptions of Waterfowl Graduate Student Publication Performance
Lauren Hernandez-Rubio, Richard Kaminski, Chris Williams

Within most academic fields, publishing research is expected for dissemination of knowledge and is used as a measure of professional performance. However, few papers have been published on professionals’ and graduate students’ perceptions of student publication performance, how professionals encourage student publishing, and what publication barriers exist for graduate students. We conducted a survey of attendees of the 2013 and 2016 North American Duck Symposium. Our objectives were to determine (1) professionals’ and students’ perceptions regarding graduate students’ publication performance, number of publications, and time to publication; (2) professionals’ and students’ views on the importance of graduate student publishing; (3) what strategies are most used to motivate graduate students to publish; and (4) what respondents consider barriers to publishing by graduate students. Via email in March 2019, we surveyed 469 professionals and 98 students of the symposia. Forty-two percent and 45% of professionals and students responded, respectively. To motivate graduate student publishing, 79% of students ranked “providing congenial encouragement” as most effective, while 60% of professionals ranked “played a major role in drafting and editing” as most effective in publishing students’ research. Both professionals and students considered lack of time during and outside work hours as barriers to publishing graduate work. Our study adds to a limited body of knowledge on wildlife graduate student publishing performance and is useful to improve methods to increase graduate student publication rates in wildlife science.

Wildlife Camera Traps in Undergraduate Research: Bringing Applied Tools into the Classroom
Justin A. Compton

Real-world undergraduate research experience can encourage the scientific process, increase student motivation, engagement, and help instill a sense of scientific discovery within students. This research framework emphasizes a dynamic set of ideas and provides a general framework that can be used both as a benchmark and a guide. Here we explore how to combine research opportunities for students with limited resources while fulfilling several dimensions of this real-world undergraduate research framework. Remote camera-traps are commonly used in wildlife research to estimate a broad range of indices such as abundance and diversity. In addition, remote camera-traps provide a non-time intensive method for robust data collection, which can be a critical variable for students and faculty alike at predominately undergraduate teaching institutions. The undergraduate students that participated in this research actively sought out research opportunities outside of the standard classroom environment. The undergraduate research students were first educated on the common use and applications of remote-cameras in ecological studies and given a series of background literature to read before engaging in the research. Students used remote-cameras to address questions of animal diversity, behavior, and habitat use. Students were then instructed in using R and photo identification software as they developed hypotheses to test. The utilization of remote-camera traps in undergraduate research experiences allowed us to bridge the gap between application and theory. The undergraduate research experience guides students through, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and synthesis. Students gain computational and science writing skills while linking theory and application. Data formatting and processing, statistical analysis in R and multiple writing activities culminate in a final research paper. Students will present their research findings at a college wide research symposium.

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Moderated Peer-To-Peer Learning for Extension Outreach to Landowners – SRIP
Kaitlyn Restivo, Maureen Frank, Sanford Smith
Traditional extension and outreach programs offered to landowners provide information, knowledge, and tools designed to encourage wise stewardship decisions. However, effectively educating today’s landowners and land managers may require new methods. This project proposes to investigate the effectiveness of a moderated peer-to-peer learning approach for extension outreach to landowners, specifically using the “Peers and Pros 360°” teaching technique developed by Dr. Sanford Smith and David Jackson at Penn State Extension. The objective of this teaching method is to create an interactive learning exercise that builds from the group’s base level of knowledge. The Peers and Pros 360° teaching method engages peer-to-peer learning by utilizing statement cards about a designated topic to spur conversation and therefore information exchange among participants. These cards consist of statements that professionals commonly hear from the target audience, whether or not those statements are factual. For this thesis, I will develop, implement, and evaluate a Peers and Pros 360° on the topic of prescribed fire. My target peer group is landowners in the Edwards Plateau ecoregion of Texas. This thesis will explore whether moderated peer‑to‑peer learning is an effective way to teach landowners about management practices and to increase adoption of those practices. Results of this study may determine more effective ways of imparting knowledge so that landowners understand and incorporate improved management practices into their short- and long-term land management plans. Additionally, results of this study will contribute to the planning of future extension programs for landowners, and other programs that employ the Peers and Pros 360° technique. Improving extension program effectiveness is essential to communities because it encourages an environment for science-based, relevant, and continuing education that fosters long-term, positive change.
Using Wildlife Students as Citizen-Scientists to Collect Oklahoma Bobcat Data in a Statewide Occupancy Study – SRIP
Nathan Proudman, Michelle Haynie, Vicki Jackson, Jerrod Davis, Sue Fairbanks
Bobcats are one of the most heavily harvested furbearers in Oklahoma and are harvested throughout the state. Current monitoring methods for bobcats in the state include fur sales and roadside surveys, which have shown a recent decline in bobcat numbers over the past decade. However, these methods may not necessarily reflect true trends in the bobcat populations. To obtain bobcat presence/absence data on a large spatial scale, that is non-invasive and independent of the fur harvest, we recruit primarily wildlife students from universities/ learning institutions across the state to deploy modified hair-snare cubbies in their home county during the three weeks of winter break. Hair samples are then identified to species morphologically under microscope to determine bobcat presence/absence at cubby sites. We also analyze hairs genetically to validate species identifications and assess our accuracy. Over the past three field seasons, 65 volunteers deployed >280 hair-snare cubbies throughout Oklahoma. Most hair-snares returned mammalian hair over the three sampling weeks, many of which were identified as bobcat, but genetic validation is still pending. This data may provide useful management data for bobcats in Oklahoma, as well familiarize wildlife students with wildlife research projects and promote conservation and management.

Location: Virtual Date: November 3, 2021 Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm