Reading the landscape for ecological restoration : a resource to develop students' site assessment practice
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SubjectEcological Restoration; Environmental Education; Experiential Learning; Place-Based Learning; Problem-Based Learning; Site Assessment
More trained ecological restoration (ER) practitioners are needed to offer tangible solutions to widespread problems of ecosystem degradation. I developed educational resources and activities to support students as they learn to complete ER site assessments (SA), by building pertinent ecological knowledge and enhancing critical skills in observation, analysis, and communication. A grounded theory literature review of ER texts established current practices for SA. Subsequent interviews with restoration experts validated, explored, and expanded on key SA competencies. I combined the ADDIE model for curriculum design with place-based, problem-based, experiential approaches to create activities that can develop fundamental SA skills, foster ecological stewardship, and enhance people's ability to "read the landscape". This curriculum should help students hone their senses, sharpen their awareness of biophysical conditions, learn to meaningfully interpret the parts and processes of natural systems, and understand and communicate within the socio-cultural contexts that shape ER projects.
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