Princeton University logo

PEI logo Center for Biocomplexity
  Outreach
Homepage
Participating Faculty
Participating Students
Collaborators
Outreach
Contact
In addition to promoting interdisciplinary environmental research and teaching programs at Princeton, a fundamental mission of the Princeton Environmental Institute is to provide a conduit between the university and the public to make the results of our scholarly research available and useful outside of academia. This includes outreach programs related to biological systems for educational venues, private and public leaders, and the general public. We direct several programs in the support of science education including teacher professional development, public and academic lectures, as well as student research opportunities and presentations to enhance science curriculum.
 
  NJ Environmental Education


H.S. Horn


Biodiversity was the focus of the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) Conference, January 6-8, 2005. Professor Henry S. Horn, representing PEI and the Center for BioComplexity, presented the keynote address. Horn spoke to over 250 formal and informal environmental educators about various ways to Teach the Nature of NJ [12 MB MS PowerPoint presentation]. Professor Horn then met individually with the teachers to discuss mutual areas of interest in environmental education.

E. Zerba

Dr. Eileen Zerba also facilitated a session at the ANJEE conference on her work with the Plainsboro Preserve. She spoke with 30 teachers and educators from nature centers. Dr. Zerba discussed how she has combined the development of the environmental laboratory course for undergraduates with an environmental education program for the preserve.
  Teacher Professional Development


L. Cherry


As the Princeton University Environmental Institute artist in residence during 2002 and 2003, Lynne Cherry worked with hundreds of teachers on the integration of science through the use of children’s literature. Please consult the Princeton News website for more information about the artist in residency program. Lynne, a nationally honored children’s author and illustrator, showed teachers how to use books in the study of environmental diversity including How Groundhog’s Garden Grew, A River Ran Wild and The Shaman’s Apprentice. Lynne discussed her vision of Schoolyard Gardens, their importance and the benefits of learning about the environment. PEI also supported Ms. Cherry’s as the keynote speaker at the Annual Conference of the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education in January 2003. While at PEI, Lynne Cherry researched a new book on climate change with Professors Pacala and Sigman, as well as a new book on ecosystem services with Professors Levin and Hedin. For more information about integrating literature with environmental studies go to the Center for Children’s Environmental Literature.



S. Pacala
Professor Stephen Pacala spoke to 50 teachers about global warming and what their students need to know to help solve the program. As keynote speaker at the QUEST symposium on May 14, 2003, Pacala conveyed an urgency to educate students about changes that need to take place in order to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Pacala discussed the realities of global warming and the size of the problem, using models developed in partnership with the Geophysical Fluids Dynamic Laboratory. Pacala also discussed ways to reduce, and ultimately solve the problem. Teachers asked about the carbon cycle and ocean currents, the affect of water vapor in the atmosphere if fuel cells were to be widely used, and the impact that industry and government will have on the recovery process.


F. Morel
In July 2002 and 2003 Professor François Morel lectured to middle-school teachers during a week-long QUEST summer program. The program was developed and taught by Eileen Zerba to further the educator's capabilities to understand and teach their students critical thinking skills and to extend learning beyond knowledge and comprehension to application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, particularly for global environmental problems. To accomplish these goals, structured and guided-inquiry exercises included a collaborative group research project on aquatic respiration using Carnegie Lake as a model system. Seasonal changes in climate and nutrient input was addressed by manipulating these parameters within aquaria microcosms in the laboratory. Additional hands-on exercises illustrated basic principles of lake/ocean dynamics and focus on sources and inputs of nutrients and toxics, including the effects of the magnitude of natural processes such as eutrophication and bioaccumulation. Morel’s lecture, “Why Life in the Sea is Hard,” discussed the role of diatoms and coccolithophores and how their hard exteriors allow relatively large cells to control their vicinal milieu by ameliorating the performance of external enzymes.
 
  Public and Academic Lectures


S. Levin


Professor Simon Levin spoke on the “Emergence of Ecosystem Patterns” in April 2002 as part of Mercer County Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. The Princeton University Environmental Institute has developed a collaborative program whereby faculty and students work together to further the scientific understanding of the community college students.



I. Rodriguez-Iturbe
Professor Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe spoke to students and faculty at Mercer County Community College on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002. Rodríguez-Iturbe’s lecture, entitled "Hydrologic Dynamics and Vegetation Structure," addressed ecohydrology, the study of mutual interactions between the hydrologic cycle and ecosystems. Ecological patterns and processes are shown to be intimately linked to water dynamics. The dynamics of the hydrologic inputs is crucially responsible for the characterization of nutrient cycles and vegetation coexistence.
  Student Research


N. Das

Professor Daniel Sigman
worked with a student from West Windsor-Plainsboro, New Jersey during the spring term of 2003 as well as the summers of 2003 and 2004. Nilanjana Das, a sophomore at WW-P North High School, learned to measure nitrate and nitrite levels in samples of water from the Bering Sea and acid rain in Princeton rainwater samples. Das presented research on the Bering Sea water at the Mercer County Science Fair on March 18, 2003 and won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. She was awarded $500 by the Water Environment Federation and placed third in the Theobald Smith Society for Microbiology. Click here for additional information.
  Student Presentations


I. Loladze

May 1, 2003 postdoctoral researchers Rebecca Robinson and Iralki Loladze participated in a poster session at PPPL to disseminate information about their biocomplexity research. Robinson and Loladze represented PEI at the PPPL Earth Day conference. Robinson presented her research entitled “A New Method for Measuring Microfossil Bound _ 15N.” Working with Sigman, Robinson focused on nutrient cycling in the paleoceanographic record with an emphasis on the nitrogen cycle. Loladze’s poster was entitled “What Rising Atmospheric CO2 Does to Human Health.” Loladze researched the application of stoichiometric principles to couple population dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. Loladze is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska.


D. Sigman
Professor Daniel Sigman, worked with 150 middle school students at the Chapin School in April 2002. Sigman developed an interactive lesson whereby the students traced the history of the earth through fossils. He discussed the evolution of life on earth, related to food, light and water needs of plants and animals. Sigman also explained the focus of his work and how he conducts his research. Sigman presented this program again in July 2002, to high school students in the Princeton Preparatory Program (PUPP)—a six-week summer institute at Princeton for 50 high school students from low-income families designed to better prepare them for college. Henry Horn also worked with the PUPP students and explained how models are used by scientists in research.


Updated:January 15, 2007
Webpage contact: amyb@princeton.edu
© Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1003