Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future

2017 Annual Meeting | Oct. 22-25 | Tampa, FL

105878 Creating a Critical Zone Science Course to Address Environmental and Global Resource Challenges.

Poster Number 1219

See more from this Division: SSSA Division: Soil Education and Outreach
See more from this Session: Soil Education and Outreach General Poster

Monday, October 23, 2017
Tampa Convention Center, East Exhibit Hall

Adam Hoffman, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA, Timothy White, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, Ashlee Dere, Department of Geography/Geology, University of Nebraska – Omaha, Omaha, NE, Adam Wymore, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, James Washburne, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and Martha Conklin, School of Engineering, University of California – Merced, Merced, CA
The global increase in demand for food, fuel, and water has put immense pressure on Earth’s critical zone (CZ), the near-surface layer from the top of the vegetation canopy to the bottom of drinking water aquifers. Soils play a significant role in the CZ, consequently exposure to multiple disciplines is needed to understand the processes and services that the CZ provides to support life on Earth. This transdisciplinary scope presents a challenge to educators aiming to equip students with the knowledge and skills to ensure that the citizenry and workforce can address the grand environmental and global resource challenges facing society. In response to this challenge, our transdisciplinary team developed a full-semester, university curriculum entitled “Introduction to Critical Zone Science.” With the framework and resources provided by this course, students from multiple science disciplines connected with the emerging field of CZ science to understand the impacts and implications of the environmental and global resource challenges facing societies. Using interactive activities infused with data sets from CZ observatories, the course explores the background of CZ science, key concepts and methods of CZ science, and units on land–atmosphere interactions, water budgets, landscape evolution, biogeochemistry, and human interactions within the CZ. The materials were piloted in eight separate courses across a range of university settings and feedback highlighted the capacity of the activities to be integrated into existing courses or used as an independent course. Pre-and post-assessment showed that the course succeeded in developing students who could envision using what they learned in this course to help society overcome problems of environmental degradation, natural resources limitations, or other environmental issues.

See more from this Division: SSSA Division: Soil Education and Outreach
See more from this Session: Soil Education and Outreach General Poster

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