OSU connects K-12 students to international forest research

Matthew Betts
OSU's Matthew Betts works with K-12 students to study bird behavior from the Cascades to Costa Rica. (Photo: Matthew Betts)

Forest researchers link natural resource education in Oregon to international studies

Keeping teachers involved and connected with real-world science and field study is key to encouraging young people to pursue science education and careers.

With this in mind, Matthew Betts, of OSU's Forest Research Laboratory, and OSU Extension's Oregon Natural Resources Education Program (ONREP) are providing hands-on learning experiences that connect students and teachers to current field research. Over the past three years, teachers and students have helped Betts and ONREP collect and intrepret data on hummingbird populations in the Willamette Valley. Not only do the students learn about science, their field work contributes to Betts’ research by adding data he and his research team could not gather on their own. The research went international in 2014 when three elementary school teachers conducted fieldwork with OSU scientists in Costa Rica, while communicating online with their students back home.

Since the mid-1980s, ONREP has contributed to improving thousands of K-12 educators’ understanding of Oregon’s diverse natural resources and ecosystems. The aim is to help them integrate natural resource concepts into the curriculum while engaging students in relevant, meaningful learning. Each year 800 to 1,000 educators attend programs offered throughout the state.

Source: Matthew Betts

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