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The Squirrel Life Project: An Accessible Framework for Experiential Learning

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Title: The Squirrel Life Project: An Accessible Framework for Experiential Learning
Author: Porter, Elizabeth
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Cottenie, KarlJacobs, Shoshanah
Abstract: High-quality educational experiences are critical to training the next generation of scientists, but traditional teaching methods (for example, lecturing) fail to provide equitable access, while high-impact methods are neglected despite evidence supporting best pedagogical practices. This thesis presents 1) the development of a scalable experiential learning initiative, The Squirrel Life Project, for large undergraduate courses based on experiential learning and citizen science frameworks, 2) the creation of a citizen science tool software prototype to expand and support The Squirrel Life Project, and 3) a discussion of the significance of integrating nature-based learning into higher education programs. The Squirrel Life Project facilitates high-quality experiential education and community-engaged science, while exposing a diversity of people to their natural surroundings with the goal of fostering human-nature connections.
Date: 2022-08
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Related Publications: Porter, E., Luo, M., Lit, B., McKechnie, I., Saha, J., Ratra, P., Lewis, N., Norman, Z., Cottenie, K., Jacobs, S., & Gillis, D. (2022). Developing a Transdisciplinary Citizen Science Tool for Experiential Learning in Undergraduate Education: Squirrel Life in a Nutshell. INTED2022 Proceedings, 1781–1790., E., Beltran, M., & Jacobs, S. (2022). Curricular nature-based learning in higher education to support mental and environmental health. Health Science Inquiry, 13.

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