A primary goal of the LTER Network is to provide a wide range of educational opportunities for students at participating institutions. Many undergraduate and graduate students are supported directly from LTER awards each year and others use LTER facilities and equipment in support of their research programs. In addition, the LTER Network, through its association with other networks worldwide, provides opportunities for the international interchange of students and faculty.
Graduate learning opportunities
LTER sites constitute a primary national training ground for graduate students in ecology. Currently more than 400 graduate students participate in the LTER network.
LTER offers the opportunity to train graduate students across disciplines and ecosystems. Our vision is for LTER to become the primary training ground for students interested in long-term, interdisciplinary ecological projects.
Undergraduate learning opportunities
Most LTER sites or their home institutions participate in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, which offers opportunities for students at both LTER and non-LTER institutions to work with LTER scientists. Participating sites fund REU students through separate grants and supplements or out of project funds. REU students receive stipends and course credit and work closely with scientist mentors on ongoing site research programs or specially designed projects. Some sites provide similar opportunities through private foundations and sources like the United Negro College Fund.
- APPLICATION INFORMATION is available directly from the individual LTER sites.
- GENERAL INFORMATION about the REU Program is available from the NSF’s website, www.nsf.gov.
The Schoolyard LTER Program
In 1998, the LTER program developed a special initiative aimed at utilizing LTER resources at each site to enhance hands-on science learning for K-12 students. All 26 LTER sites now participate in this Schoolyard LTER Program. Each site has a slightly different model for their program.
Through LTER’s Schoolyard program, scientists, teachers, and students are integrating LTER basic research into a range of hands-on learning experiences. The program includes:
- Student enrichment through hands-on laboratory experiments and field data collection and management methods
- K-12 teacher professional development
- Preparing teachers to use scientific protocols
- Instructional materials development, integrating scientific protocols and real data sets.
You can learn more about the Schoolyard LTER program at http://schoolyard.lternet.edu/.