The Role of Authentic Science Research and Education Outreach in Increasing Community Resilience: Case Studies Using Informal Education to Address Ocean Acidification and Healthy Soils

Cynthia Hall (West Chester University, USA), Regina Easley (University of South Florida, USA), Joniqua Howard (University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico) and Trina Halfhide (University of South Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 402
EISBN13: 9781466641310|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2842-7.ch014
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Active, multi-dimensional learning is needed to establish higher-level scientific inquiry. Researchers who are engaged in scientific discovery are a valuable resource to communicate the link between science, society, and sustainability. Nontraditional settings like faith-based organizations and hobbies can play an important role in fostering greater scientific understanding. This chapter highlights the role that community structure (social, racial, and economic demographics) plays in developing successful project components by considering various theoretical frameworks to communicate sustainability principles to underserved communities. The researchers in these case studies presented the topics of ocean acidification and healthy soil to inner-city communities in Tampa, FL and Philadelphia, PA by utilizing authentic science research activities. Learners maximized the opportunities to construct new hypotheses and improve decision-making related to environmental stewardship behaviors and food security issues. A secondary but transformative outcome was increased interest in STEM fields among youth in cities with traditionally low performing schools.
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