Working Together to Protect Ecological Diversity: A Community-Based Learning Case Study at University of Wisconsin–Parkside
This article focuses on a case study involving students and community working together to gain awareness and protect a threatened maple-beech forest. The students learned important concepts about ecology, biogeography, landscape fragmentation, and exotic invasion and were able to apply that knowledge later in the course. To connect their learning to the community, students shared their knowledge as “educators” for community volunteers, and discovered ways to inspire participation among the community near the site. Observed outcomes include the connection that students made between their studies and their responsibility to the community, and the sense of stewardship reflected in their continued efforts in maintaining natural habitats. This case study illustrates how students can incorporate their knowledge into community land use decisions, and how these types of projects can initiate networking opportunities to address
important societal issues and build stronger communities.