Biology Department Outreach to High School Teachers

February 5, 2024

The Department of Biology has earned a grant for $591,052 from the National Science Foundation to host local high school teachers to conduct research in urban ecology and study environmental justice. Kudos to Principal Investigator Linda Fuselier, Professor and Chair of Biology, and co-PI Justin McFadden, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Science Education in the College of Education and Human Development on their collaboration in launching this initiative, which also includes colleagues in the Departments of English and Geography as well as CEHD and Nursing.

This grant will support the training of 24 teachers for six weeks during the summer and one week during the academic year. Starting in 2024, three cohorts of teachers will be recruited from Jefferson County Public Schools, an urban school district serving many low-income students from neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by environmental degradation. High school teachers will work with experienced scientists from the Biology Department on lab- and field-based urban ecology research addressing: a) impact of human disturbance on songbird reproduction, b) ability of insects to respond to climate change; c) human–wildlife interactions and tick distributions; d) invasive plant–arthropod interactions in disturbed habitats, e) greenhouse gas emissions in urban and rural aquatic systems; and f) impact of urban heat island effects and light pollution on cave salamander populations in local parks. Teachers will be recruited by UofL faculty in collaboration with school district leadership, and priority will be given to those with experience teaching urban ecology and environmental justice in high school science classrooms.