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Seed Beetle Abundance and Diversity in Urban and Rural Sites

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The spread of urbanization leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration and changes the composition of ecosystems for species all over the world. Different groups of organisms are impacted differently, and insects have experienced loss in diversity and abundance due to

The spread of urbanization leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration and changes the composition of ecosystems for species all over the world. Different groups of organisms are impacted differently, and insects have experienced loss in diversity and abundance due to changing environmental factors. Here, I collected seed beetles across 12 urban and rural sites in Phoenix, Arizona, to analyze the effects of urbanization and habitat variation on beetle diversity and abundance. I found that urbanization, host tree origin, and environmental factors such as tree diversity and density had no impact on overall beetle diversity and abundance. Beetles were found to have higher density on hosts with a higher density of pods. In assessing individual beetle species, some beetles exhibited higher density in rural sites with native trees, and some were found more commonly on nonnative tree species. The observed differences in beetle density demonstrate the range of effects urbanization and environmental features can have on insect species. By studying ecosystem interactions alongside changing environments, we can better predict the role urbanization and human development can have on different organisms.

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2018-05

Evaluating Whole-School Sustainability

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Circles of Sustainability is a self-evaluation tool designed to build educator capacity in K-12 schools seeking sustainability solutions. Based on the Sustainable Schools Challenge Handbook from Memphis, Tennessee, Circles of Sustainability considers environmental impact and efficiency, a healthy and safe

Circles of Sustainability is a self-evaluation tool designed to build educator capacity in K-12 schools seeking sustainability solutions. Based on the Sustainable Schools Challenge Handbook from Memphis, Tennessee, Circles of Sustainability considers environmental impact and efficiency, a healthy and safe school environment, sustainability and environmental education, and engagement and empowerment as four key pillars of whole-school sustainability. Each pillar is composed of elements and rubric items, which are reviewed, totaled, and colored in on the front page of the tool to help educators visualize and evaluate the current state of sustainability at their school. Since its first iteration completed in May 2017, the tool has been used by 300 educators throughout the United States during ASU's Sustainability Teachers' Academy (STA) workshops. Circles of Sustainability is completed as part of an activity called "Evaluating Your Community," where educators complete the tool and then brainstorm sustainability projects and solutions for their school and community. This paper is a review and discussion of the research, informal feedback and formal feedback used to create the second iteration of the tool. A second iteration of the tool was created to make the tool more user-friendly and ensure each pillar, element, and rubric item are based in research. The informal feedback was conducted during STA workshops in Tempe, Arizona; Abingdon, Virginia; Princeton, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Charlotte, North Carolina. The formal feedback was conducted using a survey distributed to teachers who participated in the Tucson and Charlotte workshops. Overall, educators have responded positively to the tool, and the second iteration will continue to be used in future STA workshops throughout the United States.

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2018-05

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Teaching the Elementary Student about Sustainability: Why is it Essential?

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The following study will address the questions: "Why is it essential to teach elementary students about sustainability?" and "How do we teach elementary students about sustainability?" Teachers have an obligation to their students, as well as to the planet, to

The following study will address the questions: "Why is it essential to teach elementary students about sustainability?" and "How do we teach elementary students about sustainability?" Teachers have an obligation to their students, as well as to the planet, to make their students concerned about sustainability. Many natural resources students need in the future in order to survive are running out. Without a future generation prepared with the skills to challenge issues and investigate complex problems, the Earth will remain in a jeopardized state. Teachers need to incorporate sustainability-themed literature into their classrooms and lessons in order to prepare this future generation with those skills. Teachers should inform their students about the history of the term "sustainability." During this study, it was found that the sustainability curriculum topics and the "Four Ways of Thinking" could have been included into the existing curriculum. Subsequently, sustainable and critical thinking are aligned because they both share many of the same skills. Teachers could have students investigate current and past news articles to discover the problems caused by using natural resources unsustainably. Current news articles could be given to students, so they can look at how these issues can be solved with the use of alternative resources. Many of the younger students might not have a high enough reading level to understand news articles. There have been websites created that are geared toward younger audiences, so this would allow teachers to incorporate news into their lessons. Projects and class discussions should be rooted in sustainability. Class discussions can take place every day or once a week, while projects can occur over the course of a single month. Many teachers think the curriculum is too focused on improving state test scores. Nevertheless, the curriculum should contain sustainable and critical thinking skills. The implementation of sustainability education seems to overwhelm teachers because some do not see how they can incorporate it into their classrooms. However, this study found that these particular instructors can design existing lesson topics around the content and ways of thinking in sustainability education. Another reason why there is resistance to sustainability education is because the sustainability programs would add even more to each school's budget. Schools could raise funds for sustainability education, or apply for grants from the government. The in-depth literature review within this qualitative and open-ended study looked at subjective data. Sustainability, sustainability education, elementary curriculum, classroom, and teachers were just a sample of the key terms used for article searches in Google Scholar through Arizona State University. The reduction techniques included discarding any literature that neither linked directly to the problem statement nor with the ideas relating to the research questions. Limitations within the field of sustainability and elementary education include the research among middle and high schools across the nation. Many of the ideas for future research include the analysis of the long-term effects of incorporation of sustainability education within elementary curricula.

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2016-05

Integrating Systems Thinking Concepts into an Elementary School Gardening Program: Analyzing Sustainability Education

Description

This research paper assesses the effectiveness of a remote garden-based learning curriculum in teaching elementary students’ basic systems thinking concepts. Five remote lessons were designed, covering different garden topics, and in order to integrate systems thinking concepts, the Systems Thinking

This research paper assesses the effectiveness of a remote garden-based learning curriculum in teaching elementary students’ basic systems thinking concepts. Five remote lessons were designed, covering different garden topics, and in order to integrate systems thinking concepts, the Systems Thinking Hierarchical Model was used. This model includes eight emergent characteristics of systems thinking necessary for developing systems thinking competency. Five students were given the remote garden-based learning lessons. Student work was evaluated for systems thinking understanding and student outcomes were compared to anticipated learning outcomes. Results suggest that elementary students are able to understand basic systems thinking concepts because student work met anticipated outcomes for four systems thinking characteristics and exceeded anticipated outcomes for one characteristic. These results are significant because they further confirm that elementary-aged students do have the ability to understand systems thinking and they contribute to a growing movement to integrate sustainability education into elementary curriculum.

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2021-05