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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Blake, Jennifer [1], Struwe, Lena [2].

#notthatkindofweed: Using spontaneous weedy plants in elementary to college level education.

We recognize that “our knowledge about the world around us is incomplete … if we do not place sufficient emphasis on plant life” (National Research Council, 1989). As a larger percentage of the human population takes up residence in urban areas, the world around us becomes increasingly dominated by hardscapes, obscuring connections to nature. Nevertheless, entire communities of spontaneous weedy flora thrive in the human dominated landscapes of our cities and their suburbs. In some cases these weeds may provide the only green living things in the immediate vicinity of our residential and work areas. Because of its cosmopolitan ubiquity, spontaneous weedy vegetation is an ideal educational and outreach tool. Even schools in the most economically depressed areas have access to bountiful crops of tenacious plants that can be used for educational lessons on natural and artificial selection, adaptation, biodiversity, seed dispersal, plant identification, and the current and historical uses of common edible or medicinal plants. We discuss ways in which weedy flora may be used in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education, with examples from our own work in formal and informal educational settings. We also include a case study from a freshman seminar at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) focused on the usefulness of weeds. We believe that weedy plants represent an accessible and authentic opportunity to combat plant blindness across many age groups and many kinds of settings.

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1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, And Natural Resources, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Rd, Cook Campus, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901-8551, USA
2 - Rutgers University, Dept of Ecology, Evolution, & Natural Resources, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA

secondary education
undergraduate education
K-12 science education
informal education

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 34
Location: Salon 9/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: 34013
Abstract ID:957
Candidate for Awards:None

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