The CORE Flexible Learning Projects
These are the four CORE projects for this Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN). Additional projects may be added as they are developed through an incubator program managed by EREN-NEON. During the Spring 2021 semester, participants will implement all or portions of one or more projects into their teaching. These projects cover a range of topics, so please select the activities that will fit best into your course curriculum.
Plants in the Human-Altered Environment (PHAE), developed & led by Dr. Jason Kilgore and Dr. Karen Kuers.
Woody plants provide an amazing variety of services to other organisms, including humans, many of which are overlooked in the human-altered environment. This project brings students face-to-face with the plants that share their neighborhoods or campuses. Students will use online resources to identify and classify plants. They will establish plots and measure the abundance, biomass, diversity, and ecosystem services provided by plants as a function of landscape alteration. They will also relate these data to nation-wide datasets on plants within the human-altered environment. This project can be implemented across a range of environments, used by independent students or groups of students, and lasts from 2 to 4 laboratory sessions.
Training Webinar (1 hour): https://youtu.be/6pXhtATfwAU
Backyard Beetles + Pollinators, developed & led by Dr. Kaitlin Stack Whitney.
Students observe insect pollinators in their backyards, campus, or nearby natural areas to describe plant-pollinator networks and assess how the assemblages from their sites compare to those in a range of landscapes. Ground beetles, some of which are critical and understudied plant pollinators, are of particular interest. Students will learn how and why NEON samples ground beetles, develop an appreciation of the ecosystem services provided by these often overlooked arthropods and have the option to set up their own NEON-style pitfall trap using common household materials. Students will develop an appreciation of the ecosystem services provided by these often overlooked arthropods and how the assemblages of pollinators from their sites relate to the broader North American landscape. This project can be the subject of a course laboratory activity lasting between 2 and 4 weeks.
Training Webinar (1 hour): https://youtu.be/XQhNE3mIK44
Mosquito Surveys along Anthropogenic Impact Gradients, developed & led by Dr. Allison Parker.
This project explores the role of human land use and other environmental factors that affect native and invasive mosquito species distributions and the diseases that they can vector. Students can collect data on campus or from their homes by collecting water in containers and monitoring them for mosquito eggs and larvae. Publicly available nation-wide data on mosquito abundances will be examined relative to a variety of environmental variables and related back to data collected by students. This project can be the subject of a course laboratory activity lasting between 2 and 4 weeks.
Training Webinar (1 hour): https://youtu.be/CfPsuP50AaY
Lichens in Diverse Landscapes, developed & led by Dr. Danielle Garneau, Dr. Matthew Heard, and Dr. Mary Beth Kolozsvary.
Lichens are well-known sentinels of problems with air quality. This project makes use of publicly-available datasets of lichen records along with field-collected data. A variety of environmental data are related to lichen abundance and diversity to better understand how lichens respond to anthropogenic environmental pressures. Lichens will be related to environmental variables at a variety of spatial scales, from tree bark substrates to regional patterns of air quality. Students and instructors explore and gain experience with GIS, NEON data, statistical analyses, and field data collection as part of this project. This project can be the subject of a course laboratory activity lasting between 1 and 3 weeks.
Training Webinar (1 hour): https://youtu.be/yLzEGF8EFUc