Research Outreach in School of Environment & Society

Faculty and graduate students associated with FIU's NSF-funded Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project (SBERP_ have developed an innovative education and outreach program. In the past 12 months, middle school teachers from Texas, Tennessee, and Maryland have traveled to Shark Bay to work with PhD student Derek Burkholder and MS student Kathryn Cameron during their studies of the dynamics of one of the world's last pristine seagrass ecosystems. Upon returning from the field Derek and Katy visited the teacher's schools and gave talks to thousands of students. SBERP also has developed the first version of an innovative new way to teach middle school and high school students. This video-enhanced lesson takes students along on a research mission from seagrass to tiger sharks and challenges them to develop their own ideas and then dive in with the researchers to test them. Dr. Mike Heithaus presented this program at the recent National Science Teachers Association meetings in Ft. Lauderdale and handed out the first 100 copies of the program. It is available on the web at www.sberp.org.