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Working Group Landscape Ecology in School

In many countries worldwide, environmental education is poorly represented in formal education, due to the poor training of teachers, and is mostly presented as extracurricular activities but not as an on-going learning process.  In many situations, primary and secondary school teachers do not choose to teach such curricula due to the poor training available on the subject-specific didactics, as well as the lack of materials to use during classes. Moreover, teachers often lack belief and motivation that they can bring change, so that they rarely have the courage to explore non-standard topics and teaching methods in class.

Landscape Ecology is a rather young field as compared to Biology or Geography and needs support in order to become part of school curricula. Also, Landscape Ecology so far seems to be limited to the "ivory tower" of the higher education.

For more details about the Edu-WG, please visit:External Website Edu Working Group

How do we link scientists and teachers?

To our knowledge there is no international platform that provides teachers the access to information on Landscape Ecology, and more important, to possible means of integrating it into their classes. The materials that scientists and professors use to teach Landscape Ecology (books, research papers etc.) are too complex and sophisticated to be used by school teachers. There is a need to "lower the complexity". Therefore, collaboration between scientists and teachers is necessary. In this way, Landscape Ecology could be adapted for primary and secondary, and high school students.

Rationale

The Edu-WG is fueled by the belief that environmental education, and especially Landscape Ecology competences (knowledge, skills, attitude), should be available not only for researchers who specialize in this domain, but for children and young adults who will work in various fields (which have an impact on the quality of life, on natural resources, etc.), so that sustainability can have a meaning to the broader community. Hence, we perceive Landscape Ecology education as a critical discipline and we concentrate our efforts towards becoming a source of inspiration for young teachers.

Objectives

The IALE Working Group ‘Edu-WG: Landscape Ecology in Schools’ supports school teachers who want to integrate Landscape Ecology into their courses.  

Goals

The Edu-WG aims to:    

  • support landscape ecologists who are involved in activities at pre-university education levels;
  • develop materials on Landscape Ecology didactics;
  • develop an e-learning platform of good practices and solutions in class; this platform can be accessed here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/iale-eduwg
  • organize courses and workshops in volunteering schools, in order to allow student-teachers to practice and internalize the proposed methods.

We support the Edu-WG members to:

  • exchange experiences and initiatives;
  • share materials and online courses;
  • engage in active teaching;
  • seek financial support, if available, in order to implement educational activities.

Joining the group

All colleagues interested in this topic are welcome to contact us:
Ileana Stupariu: ileana.stupariu@geo.unibuc.ro
Ioana Stoicescu: ioana.stoicescu@aletheea.ro
Iulia Calin: iulia.calin@teachforromania.ro
Simona R. Gradinaru:  simona.gradinaru@wsl.ch
Moreover, a Google Group is available for joining:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/iale-eduwg

Activities Conducted in Period 2016 - 2017

  1. Co-organization of a symposia at the IALE European Congress in Ghent, 12-15 September 2017
    Link to the Symposium (iale-europe.eu)
  2. Oral presentation "Non-formal activities to promote Landscape Ecology in schools"
    by WG members Ioana Stoicescu, Simona R. Gradinaru, Iulia Calin, Ana-Maria Calota, Ileana Patru-Stupariu at the IALE European Landscape Ecology Congress in Ghent, 12-15 September 2017
    The presentation focused on the use of non-formal activities to promote landscape ecology knowledge and principles, within the projects organized by Edu-WG: Landscape Ecology in Schools.
    Link to the Abstract (iale-europe.eu)
  3. Educational project "One Landscape, Two Stories: People and Birds" (2016 - 2017)
    We involved pupils from four different communities (the commune of Slatioara- Olt County, the city of Bucharest and the communes of Glina and Branesti - Ilfov County) in activities that raise awareness on the importance of the fauna and flora in the proximity of Slatioara Pit, Olt County, Romania. The students were guided into observing how the two components, people and birds, are closely connected through the concept of landscape, which both of these groups use according to their needs.
    Participant schools: three public schools (Slatioara Secondary School, School no.1 Branesti, School no.1 Glina) and one private school (Aletheea School). Number of involved pupils: 60
    More information here (quarrylifeaward.ro)
  4. Development of material for Landscape Ecology didactics (2016-2017)
    The implementation of the "One Landscape, Two Stories: People and Birds" involved the development of a series of materials for Teaching material. These were presented as a video collection as well as a downloadable Teachers’ Guide, posted on educational websites.
    A collection of videos
    involving the pit staff and students from the local community please view here (youtube.com).
    Hand-crafted flash cards
    for bird species identification (in Romanian)

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IALE

International Association for Landscape Ecology

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