How do emerging environmental stressors such as floods, droughts, and heat waves impact local biodiversity across diverse ecosystems?

The Authentic Research Experience for Teachers at NSF’s Long Term Ecological Research sites (ARET@LTER) project engages middle school and high school teachers  in conducting field and laboratory research focused on this question. High school teachers will be recruited from schools with large populations of students from  marginalized groups for these paid research experiences. Selected teachers will participate in established and independent research projects at one of three LTER research locations

Selected teachers will spend 4 to 6 weeks over two summers embedded in active research programs at long-term ecological research sites. They will have the opportunity to develop independent research projects as well as working on established projects and will broaden their understanding by comparing notes with colleagues stationed at other LTER sites. The summer research experiences will form the basis of new classroom activities developed and piloted during the intervening school year. Four teachers will be stationed at each of three sites, forming a cohort of 12 teachers in year 1 who will be joined by another 12 teachers in year 2.  The three included LTER sites span diverse critical habitat types including the Arctic (Arctic LTER), temperate montane forests (Andrews LTER), and marine coastal ecosystems (Santa Barbara Coastal LTER). Learn more about the schedule and plans on the participate page.

A capstone in-person experience at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) will further involve teachers in the practice, process, and community of today’s networked and data-intensive science. Teachers will engage their students in authentic science learning activities based on their RET experience and develop a Data Nugget or similar data product based on their experience, which can be used by any of the RETs in the project as well as across K-12 and undergraduate classrooms through the freely available Data Nuggets website.