Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems.
Penn State CHANCE is an environmental education and professional development outreach program that uses real-world experiences to challenge students to think critically about conservation issues while transforming them into the problem solvers that our society desperately needs.About CHANCE »
29 March 2015
The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Image: Carter Hunt
Researchers Study Tourism-Poverty Nexus in Central America
Central American economies are experiencing an ongoing boom in tourism, and in certain regions this often comes with real estate speculation in support of a trend toward all-inclusive resorts, large hotels and vacation homes. A study conducted by researchers at Penn State and partnering institutions, however, challenges the notion...
Read Penn State newswire »
05 March 2015
Documentary on Air Pollution Grips China
On Youku, a popular Chinese video-sharing site, "Under the Dome" had been played more than 14 million times by Sunday afternoon on March , 2015. The Paper, a Chinese news website, estimated that by Saturday night, the documentary had been opened more than 35 million times across various websites.
Watch video and read story »
A Penn State University and Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva collaboration. The focus of this program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, which includes spring, 2015 online and summer, 2015 field course components, is to explore rainforest, coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangrove root ecosystems. The word explore is all encompassing here as it not only means to physically experience theses ecosystems with all the human senses open, but to question the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. A highlight of the field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations worldwide. DATES for field course: June 15 - July 1, 2015
Visit field course website for applications
A Penn State University, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), and Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) collaboration. The focus of this program is on China's fresh water supply and efforts needed to restore and conserve it. Twenty-four undergraduate students (8 from each university) will be selected from all three institutions to participate in a 17-day journey to study the Yangtze River watershed, which consists of the longest river in Asia and the third-largest in the world. Locations to be explored include: Shanghai; YiChang, Hubei Province; Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; and, Beijing. Field research will analyze efforts to reverse the pollution and resulting eutrophication of Lake Tai, China's third largest lake, as a result of the rapid economic growth in the surrounding cities of Wuxi and Suzhou. Also, all involved students and faculty will investigate the impact of urban development on the tributaries of the Yangzte in the Nanjing area. Highlights for this program include an international student-run panel discussion in Beijing on the sustainability of China's fresh water supply, and participation in a restoration project in the Yangtze watershed with members of Green Oasis, an NGO based in Shanghai.
DATES for field course: July 6-23, 2015.
Visit the field course website
CHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), La Selva Biological Station, for its work to advance research, education and conservation of tropical ecosystems. This work was recently recognized in a front-page piece in the New York Times.
For five decades, OTS has been the world's leading institution in the study of tropical biology with more than 350 graduate-level courses in the ecology and management of natural resources and over eight thousand students participating in its programs and conducting research annually.
Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems - more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year. The traditional focus on education and research has broadened to encompass quality-learning options for natural history visitors and local schoolchildren who come to the OTS stations just for short visits.
Together CHANCE and OTS are breaking new ground in involving undergraduate students in participating in real research activities in Costa Rica, specifically at the La Selva Biological Station. With a combination of on-line learning and in-the-field experiences, their joint programs are changing students' perceptions and values, bringing to them transformational experiences that help them set their future careers.
14 March 2015
CHANCE Fellow researches in Brazil
Benjamin Fowler, a CHANCE 2013 Fellow, began working in Dr. David Hughes's laboratory a few months after the conclusion of the CHANCE field program. Dr. Hughes's lab works with the Ophiocordyceps/ant parasitic relationship (known colloquially as "zombie-ants") in order to better understand disease dynamics in social communities and mechanisms of parasitic host-manipulation, an example of the extended phenotype. Ben's work focuses on understanding how the Ophiocordyceps fungus is able to transmit from an infected ant cadaver on a leaf or twig to a naïve host on a trail nearby. After receiving a grant from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ben and a graduate student, João Araújo, traveled to Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke near Manaus, Brazil. During two weeks in the Amazon, Ben conducted several novel experiments to document the quantity and timing of Ophiocordyceps spore release. In addition, Ben and João located, collected, and are working to identify potentially more than a dozen new species of entomopathogenic fungi. GO BEN!
29 March 2015
Naturalist Outreach Workshop Opportunity for Undergraduate Educator
This 2.5 day NSF-funded professional development workshop on October 10 -12, 2015 for faculty and college educators will help you organize a course in how to do effective scientific outreach, develop an outreach program, provide guidance on how to host a large community science outreach event, and help you engage with K-12 teachers and museums. The workshop will be delivered by science outreach experts from Cornell University's Naturalist Outreach Program, the Sciencenter, and Museum of the Earth at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The workshop, 3-nights hotel, and meals are free to participants. Applications will be accepted until June 10, 2015 at https://blogs.cornell.edu/outreachworkshop/apply. All successful applicants will be notified by July 15, 2015. A deposit of $300 will be required to reserve a space in the workshop. This deposit will be returned upon completion of the workshop.
For more information »
25 March 2015
Teacher Workshop: Pushing the Limits of Weather Forecasting - Relationship to Climate Change
Join Meteorology professors and researchers Drs. Steven Feldstein and Sukyoung Lee, in collaboration with Penn State CSATS science educators, in this NSF funded grant in Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics. Teachers will become immersed into the practices scientists use to perform and understand medium-range weather forecasts. Gaining relevant research experience along with collaborating with science educators, teachers will be able to translate this information into classroom lessons aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards that emphasize student learning about the practices of scientists.
For more information »
20 March 2015
Celebrate EE Week April 19 - 25
Sponsored by Samsung and the National Environmental Education Foundation, National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) will be held April 19 – 25 and is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education. It is held each spring around the time of Earth Day to inspire environmental learning and stewardship among K-12 students. This year, EE Week looks at how science can help us better understand the natural world with the theme Surrounded by Science, part of our continuing series on Greening STEM. Make EE Week part of your plans this spring with tools and resources available for environmental learning throughout the year!
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14 March 2015