I teach courses in ecology and evolution, plant ecology, plant-fungal interactions, methods in field ecology, conservation biology, computational biodiversity, restoration ecology, and tropical ecology.
In both majors and non-majors classes, I emphasize scientific communication. For instance, in conservation biology (a non-majors course), students selected an aspect of Hudson Valley ecology to study and feature in a children’s book. After consulting with local school children during at least one classroom visit, the college students researched their topic then wrote and illustrated stories that “taught” a concept or topic related to Hudson Valley ecology. These were self-published (supported by Bard Center for Civic Engagement) and donated to the classrooms and elementary school library.
During Fall 2019 I taught a Calderwood Seminar focused on Unresolved Ecological Controversies. Calderwood Seminars focus on public communication and include writing assignments such as interview profiles, editorials, book reviews, and short synopses of scientific papers. Work from these students can be found here.
Even in advanced laboratory courses, I encourage students to interact with communities beyond our classroom. During Fall 2020, in an effort to provide activities for young kids during their remote-schooling due to COVID-19, my students produced videos with craft activities and tutorials, or designed outreach activities in a safe, outdoor environment (click here). Inspired by the book The Forest Unseen, I also challenged my students to visit a site in the forest and one in an old field, take weekly photographs to compile into a time-lapse video, and write an essay based on one of their observations. Their work can be seen here.
Art and Science
I also enjoy teaching science in unconventional environments, such as the art museum. In one ecology class, I challenged students to search for classic ecological patterns (e.g. species area relationships, species abundance distributions) in landscape paintings (this work was presented at a National Art Curators conference, and is described here).