Global Ecology Education: Creating a Path to Sustainability & Leadership
Karina Baum, Director of Global Education and US Science Teacher
Global Ecology program visit to the
Natural History Museum at Harvard University
At the start of a three hour visit to the Museum, the students were given a two page challenge guidesheet titled “Wondering” around the Museum. This was designed to have the students not only locate certain exhibits but use a science-based enquiring, curious approach and attitude.
The students were set up in groups of four and allowed to explore for a time on their own with Drs. Baum and Zook periodically visiting/conversing with the groups at various exhibits.
Emphasis was placed on students making connections to ecology while observing and often marveling at the themes of evolution and comparative zoology. Visits to the tropical and temperate forest areas connected to previous times in the Program, wherein the importance of trees to the biosphere were prioritized.
Dr. Joe Martinez, who is a herpetologist, science educator, and curator at the Museum shared several specimens including passing around a crocodile jaw bone and a preserved specimen of a high altitude toad from central America now believed recently extinct, likely due in part to anthropogenic climate change.
Students also had opportunities to visit the rock/mineral area where the importance of stromatolites in the history of early life on earth was stressed. The visit concluded with the students sharing their “wow” museum content moments during the visit while meeting together in the climate change-theme room of the Museum.