EdReps Chart Course for LTER Education

Network News Fall 2004, Vol. 17 No. 2

LTER education representatives met at Andrews Field Station August 29-31 and held three days of intense, multipurpose discussion. The group held a conference call with Henry Gholz, LTER program officer at NSF, who briefed us on funding, state of the LTER planning grant and other related issues. We spent considerable time at the meeting discussing the role of education representatives in the planning grant and came up with suggestions for the different working groups. Ali Whitmer, a member of the education committee, is a Co-PI in the planning grant, while John Moore volunteered to chair the planning grant Education and Outreach committee.

We also discussed strategies to coordinate education activities after my departure from the Network Office. We re-organized the Education Executive Committee to match each member with a specific activity, such as the development of a children’s book series, completion of the Education Handbook, and so on. Robert Bohanan agreed to chair the committee for another year, with Monica Elser as co-chair. However, after one year Monica will take over as sole chair. We decided on this structure to keep us in line with the planning grant. The representatives also nominated graduate student Brett McMillan to join the committee.

We devoted a large part of the meeting to working on three NSF Education grant proposals. Earlier this year three groups of education representatives submitted pre-proposals to the NSF Teacher Professional Continuum program. Two of these groups were encouraged to submit full proposals. These are cross-site proposals that involve 10-12 sites to start with. The idea is to integrate the research questions identified by the Network into education activities (teacher training, curriculum development, and teaching materials).

The Education Handbook, developed solely by education representatives, is almost complete and the new California Current Ecosystem (CCE) site agreed to test it. We also reviewed the Strategic Plan for education and will continue to update it as needed.

My three-year involvement with LTER went by incredibly fast. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience. I’m very happy to see the education group working together and developing collaborations. It was a pleasure to have contributed to the advancement of LTER education activities and hope to stay in touch with the group in future.

Sonia Ortega

NSF/formerly at LNO