Last week, I experienced my first Ecology Project International course with an incredible group of middle school students from Deer Lodge, Montana. Deer Lodge is a typical rural Montana town—small, isolated, and consisting of a community who generally all know one another. Deer Lodge’s population is around 3,000 people, nearly a quarter of which live below the poverty line. The students on our course were no exception—most of them worked and fundraised for a year to pay for the already funder-supported local EPI course.
The major industry in Deer Lodge is the state prison, and being so isolated, a large variety of career paths are not always visible to students growing up there. EPI’s Yellowstone Wildlife Ecology program provided this group of students a chance to not only visit Yellowstone National Park, with which they share the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but ... Read More
Ecology Project International immerses students in research with conservation scientists, giving them ample opportunity to experience the scientific process and the satisfaction of collecting data to inform real wildlife management policies. It is one of the easiest ways to get your students involved in real science. But taking a research trip is not always feasible for schools, and keeping science alive for your classroom year-round is important.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have directed focus on student understanding of scientific concepts through actual practices of science and engineering. Finding and working with a local scientist is one way to accomplish this, but we know that can seem daunting. And yet partnering with a local scientist can offer so much beyond standards: hands-on learning, deeper understanding of how science is applied in the world, real-life role models, career path opportunities, and even possible summer job opportunities for your... Read More
When you hear “Galapagos,” what comes to mind? Lumbering giant tortoises? Deep and cold, turquoise waters? Sea lions lounging with marine iguanas?
Of all the things that come to mind, there is one principle that unites them all—uniqueness driven by evolution. Due to the Galapagos’ isolation, volcanic origin, and relative youth, the 127 islands, islets, and rocks forming the archipelago boast a uniquely high level of endemism—species found nowhere else on earth. There are 2,909 marine species that have been identified in the Galapagos, and of these, more than 520 are endemic.
Charles Darwin noted descriptions of speciation in the finches and mockingbirds of the islands - species which had adapted over millions of years to survive in the habitats and microclimates of each island. The volcanic slivers of land known as the Galapagos Islands lie above the boundaries of three tectonic plates, and... Read More