Service learning is an effective way to engage students in natural history and ecological courses and develop an environmental ethic of caring. Applied ecology experiences like the one described can enhance
problem-solving and communication skills, technical skills like surveying and analysis, and a commitment to environmental concerns.
According to Russo (2010), service learning “can take students out
of their academic shelter and help them begin to develop a sense of
place – something that is particularly important for developing the
stewardship needed to protect environmental quality.” Putting students in the role of environmental consultant increased eco-literacy
and fostered application of course content, exploration of disciplinary
knowledge, and development of communication skills.
This project enabled students to gain knowledge of ecological the-ories through articles, lectures, and discussions in class (intellectual
engagement). Students also applied course-generated knowledge and
skills and developed solutions in order to address identified community issues (application of knowledge). Lastly, students developed their
oral and written communication skills through translating academic
theory into meaningful dialogue with others.
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typology of service paradigms and integrity. Michigan Journal of
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Brail, S. (2013). Experiencing the city: urban studies students and service
learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37, 241–256.
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students. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher
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Directions. New York, NY: Springer.
Celio, C.I., Durlak, J. & Dymnicki, A. (2011). A meta-analysis of the impact of
service-learning on students. Journal of Experiential Education, 34, 164–181.
Desmond, K.J. & Stahl, S.A. (2011). Implementing service learning into
human service education. Journal of Human Services, 31, 5–16.
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post-secondary education. International Journal of Progressive
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of Experiential Education, 40, 24–38.
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studies. Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(3), 26–31.
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Leadership and Sustainable Communities. Lanham, MA: University
Press of America.
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Engagement, 5, 137–152.
CHRISTOPHER R. COLLINS is an Assistant Professor at St. John Fisher
College, Rochester, NY 14618; e-mail: email@example.com. LYNN DONAHUE is
Assistant Director of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at
St. John Fisher College; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE AMERICAN BIOLOGY TEACHER IMPROVING ECO-LITERACY THROUGH SERVICE LEARNING