To increase the number of students prepared for employment and/or graduate school in diverse technical fields relevant to global climate change and sustainable natural resource, the Urban Forestry Program at Southern University has implemented a project to enhance the urban forestry curricular through the integration of global climate change into urban forest ecosystem education. The project is being accomplished through an ecosystem modeling approach focusing on how climate change affects urban ecosystems and their major components such as forests, wetlands, and water, and how to mitigate the effects thereof. In teaching and learning, we have utilized many state-of-the-art models, such as the urban forest ecosystem service assessment model I-Tree, Educational Global Circulation Model that simulate global climate change, and the water resource model Hydrological Simulation Program – FORTRAN. The project team has created a new course titled “Sustainable Urban Forests in a Changing Climate” and its accompany student workbook/learning resource book. We have implemented an annual climate change and natural resources symposium to enhance student-scientist interaction and scientific exchange. To foster students’ critical thinking, we have established an annual student ecosystem forum. The integrative and interactive teaching and learning enabled students to gain knowledge about natural resources in a changing climate and to learn strategies to address the complexities of the urban ecosystems, and to better able to apply learned knowledge to related fields for increasing their competitiveness. The project strengthened education capabilities, enhanced students’ marketability and workforce preparedness, and developed sustainable partnerships.
Zhu H. Ning, Southern University, USA
Kamran Abdollahi, Southern University, USA
Michael Stubblefield, Southern University, USA
Stream: Education for sustainable development
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