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AIBS Education Report, Volume 3, Issue 2, March/April 2006

  • AIBS Annual Meeting Updates
  • New Education Resources in ActionBioscience.org
  • National Evolutionary Synthesis Center: Education and Outreach
  • Call for Contributions: Encyclopedia of Earth
  • Professional Development Opportunity in Costa Rica
  • Be an Expert for Environmental Education Week
  • Upcoming Conferences

The AIBS Education Report is distributed broadly by email six times a year to AIBS membership leaders and contacts, including the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Director, AIBS Council Representative, Journal Editor, Newsletter Editor, Public Policy Committee Chair, Public Policy Representative, and Education Committee Chair of all AIBS member societies and organizations. All material from these reports may be reproduced or forwarded. Please mention AIBS as the source; office staff appreciates receiving copies of materials used.

Any interested party may self-subscribe to receive these free reports by email. Go to www.aibs.org and click on Education Reports on the opening page, then follow the text links to complete the subscription form. If you would like to share information about your organization's education initiatives with the AIBS community, please contact the AIBS Education and Outreach Program Manager, Susan Musante (smus...@aibs.org
; 703-674-2500 x311).
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AIBS ANNUAL MEETING UPDATES

"Biodiversity: The Interplay of Science, Valuation, and Policy" is the theme for this year's meeting, taking place May 24-25 in Washington, DC. Plenary talks, discussion sessions, award presentations, and poster and exhibit sessions will allow participants to explore linkages among the economic, scientific, and public policy perspectives of biodiversity.

Speakers and discussion leaders include:
- Stephen Bocking, Environmental and Resource Studies Program, Trent University, Canada: "Defining Effective Science for Biodiversity Policy"
- Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife: "The Endangered Species Act under Attack: The Dynamic Interplay between Science and Policy"
- Daniel Esty, Law School and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University: "From Science to Policy: Biodiversity Protection, Metrics, and Results"
- Chris Mooney, Washington correspondent, Seed Magazine, and author of "The Republican War on Science": "Learning to Speak Science: How the Scientific Community Can Win Back Its Political Influence in America"
- Shahid Naeem, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University: "Applications of Biodiversity Research to Human Well-Being"
- Matthew Nisbet, School of Communication, The Ohio State University: "Framing Science: Understanding the Battle over Knowledge"
- Richard Norgaard, Energy and Resources Group, University of California-Berkeley: "Values and Valuation in a Rapidly Changing World"
- Stephen Polasky, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota: "Valuing Ecosystem Services"

Attendees interested in working toward expanding career, professional development, and service opportunities for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the biological sciences are welcome to register for the AIBS Diversity Luncheon on May 25th. Participants will have the opportunity to talk with the AIBS leadership, interact with members of the AIBS Human Resources Committee, and network with others interested in creating a more diverse scientific community. Diversity luncheon guest speaker is Robert Stanton, former Director of the National Park Service.

Immediately prior to the annual meeting, May 23-24, an AIBS business meeting for the general membership, combined with a meeting of the AIBS Council of member societies and organizations, will provide updates on AIBS activities and discuss AIBS plans and priorities. To register or learn more about either meeting, visit www.aibs.org/events/annual-meeting/annual_meeting_2006.html or contact Sue Burk at sbu...@aibs.org.

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NEW EDUCATION RESOURCES IN ACTIONBIOSCIENCE.ORG

Three new interviews and one new lesson were published in March. Ellen Vitetta, professor of microbiology and director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, shares her expertise in the interview, "Biomedical and Biodefense Uses for Ricin" (www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/vitetta.html). Known best for its potential use in biological warfare, ricin is also used in medical research because it is an effective immunotoxin for treating cancers as well as a key component in vaccines. In "Flowering Plants: Keys to Earth's Evolution and Human Well-Being" (www.actionbioscience.org/genomic/soltis.html), the important role of angiosperms is discussed by Pamela Soltis, curator of the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "Climate Change and Speciation of Mammals" (www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/barnosky.html) is a conversation with Anthony D. Barnosky, vertebrate paleontologist and curator at the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California-Berkeley. Barnosky illustrates the connection between evolution of new mammal species and significant, persistent changes in climate. And the new lesson, "Natural Selection," written by R. Brian Watts, accompanies the article "Natural Selection: How Evolution Works," an interview with Douglas Futuyma (www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/futuyma.html). Visit ActionBioscience.org for more bioscience articles and lessons.

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NATIONAL EVOLUTIONARY SYNTHESIS CENTER: EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

NESCent has developed a website for educators at http://eog.nescent.org. The curriculum materials for teaching evolution include two recently developed modules on "re-wilding" and avian flu. Examples of recent evolutionary science discoveries, along with brief summaries and links for more information, are posted weekly. National and state education standards for high school science as well as reports on evolution education across the United States are also posted. Information about ongoing NESCent activities, including working groups, catalysis meetings, and research opportunities, is available. Various other resources related to teaching evolution can be found on the site as well.

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CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: ENCLYCLOPEDIA OF EARTH

The world's experts on the environment of Earth are collaborating to produce a single comprehensive and definitive electronic encyclopedia about the Earth. The Encyclopedia of Earth (www.earthportal.net/eoe) will be free to the public and free of advertising. Its scope is the environment of the Earth broadly defined, with particular emphasis on the interaction between society and the natural spheres of the Earth (see the taxonomy and topic areas at http://earthportal.net/EP/eoe/eoetopics/).

The project coordinators seek all qualified editors and authors to collaboratively develop:
- A free, fully searchable, trusted source of articles about the Earth
- A to Z coverage of topics describing the environment of Earth that span the natural, physical, and social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the professional disciplines
- An information resource that will be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, decision-makers, as well as to the general public
- An authoring site that combines the authority of peer review with the power of Web-based collaboration
- A public reference site that is updated every 15 minutes

Professor Cutler J. Cleveland of Boston University, editor-in-chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Energy (Elsevier Science, 2004), is the Encyclopedia of Earth Editor-in-Chief. A distinguished international advisory board provides editorial oversight. The encyclopedia is one component of the Earth Portal (http://earthportal.net/), the world's first comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the Earth and environmental change. It is published by the Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment (www.ncseonline.org). If you are interested and want more information, please send an email to eoe@earthportal.net, or visit http://earthportal.net/EP/steward/.

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY IN COSTA RICA

"Habitats and Culture of Costa Rica" is a two-week, two-credit-hour program in July providing an environmental overview of present-day Costa Rica that emphasizes the natural history of its diverse landscapes as well as the language and customs of the people. Participants will journey across Costa Rica's extraordinary geography, from coral reefs to once-glaciated peaks of volcanic rock, experiencing cloud forests, lowland rainforests, and mangrove swamps. Along the way, participants will learn about typical foods, rural schools, and the practices of tropical agriculture. They will also receive instruction in the rudiments of conversational Spanish, participate in a service project, and investigate the flora and fauna of different ecosystems. For more information, contact info@campanario.org, or visit www.campanario.org.

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BE AN EXPERT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WEEK

In preparation for National Environmental Education (EE) Week, taking place April 16-22, 2006, the National STEM Digital Library (NSDL), NSF, and the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation are teaming up to make the "AskNSDL" service available for EE Week activities.

"Experts" can sign up to answer questions related to specified areas of science, mathematics, or technology, or to provide educational resources and practices in these disciplines. Scientists, graduate students, junior- and senior-level undergraduates, librarians, educators, and others are encouraged to share their knowledge with the students, teachers, and general public who will be sending their inquiries during National EE Week and beyond. It is easy to register as an expert and requires only as much time as you prefer to commit in responding to the questions that you choose to answer. You only see questions from the audience you wish to assist combined with the categories you wish to respond to.

To register, go to http://ask.nsdl.org/ and click on the "for experts" link. Select "register as an expert" and follow the instructions. To facilitate your approval as an expert, please mention your affiliation in the "credentials/bio" field. Contact Susan Van Gundy (303-497-2946, vangundy@ucar.edu) or Blythe Bennett (blytheb@iis.syr.edu) for more information.

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UPCOMING CONFERENCES

- Enriching the Academic Experience of College Science Students. May 17-19, 2006. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
The conference will provide a gathering place for a diverse group of educators, including learning center professionals, program directors, faculty members, and others who are committed to supporting undergraduate science students outside the formal classroom. Educators from all types of colleges and universities, including two-year community colleges and four-year comprehensive, liberal arts, and research institutions, are invited. The conference will include presentations on a diverse range of topics that highlight new and innovative programs, connections between current theory and practice, and discussions about the important questions facing science educators. More information is available at www.umich.edu/~slc/conf/homeslc.htm.

- Student Pugwash USA. May 19-20, 2006. Rockefeller University, New York, NY.
Student Pugwash USA enables students to think independently about how the development of cutting-edge science and technologies affect society. SPUSA is launching a series of regional conferences this year focusing on the integrity of science. The conferences will address a variety of issues including international security, public health, global warming, and the development of US science policy. Visit www.spusa.org for more information about this and other SPUSA events and resources.

- AIBS 2006 Annual Meeting: Biodiversity: The Interplay of Science, Valuation, and Policy. May 24-25, 2006. Washington, DC.
Plenary speakers, breakout sessions, and a poster session are planned. Visit www.aibs.org/events/annual-meeting/ for program updates and registration. The annual meeting will be preceded by an AIBS business meeting for the general membership, combined with a meeting of the AIBS Council of member societies and organizations.

- Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE) 28th Annual Conference. June 6-10, 2006. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
ABLE conferences seek to improve the undergraduate biology laboratory experience by promoting the development and dissemination of interesting, innovative, and reliable laboratory exercises. Each ABLE conference brings together a group of selected presenters with about 140 participants from university and college biology departments throughout Canada and the United States. In three very full days, the participants are actively involved in four 3-hour, hands-on workshops and several shorter workshops. The workshop presenters provide all of the essential information and experiences that the potential user of the laboratory needs to take it home and use the exercise in his/her own teaching program. The workshops are published in Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, the conference proceedings published by ABLE. More information is available at www.zoo.utoronto.ca/able/conf/able2006/index.html.

- 28th Annual Summer Institute on College Teaching. June 4-8, 2006. The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.
The Virginia Tidewater Consortium's Summer Institute on College Teaching is in its 28th year of helping faculty at every level and discipline to become more effective teachers. Over the years hundreds of faculty have participated in the institute and have found it very worthwhile and rewarding. The institute is unique in that it allows faculty members the opportunity to discuss college teaching and learning in-depth with their colleagues in a nonthreatening, pleasant environment. Enrollment is limited to allow ample time for one-on-one discussion with the other faculty. Applications are due by May 23, 2006. Early enrollment is encouraged. To register, go to www.vtc.odu.edu/summer_institute.html.

- Summer Institute: What the Best College Teachers Do. June 21-23, 2006. Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ.
Participants in this highly interactive workshop will explore and use findings from a 15-year inquiry into practices and insights of highly successful college teachers, people with enormous success in helping and encouraging their students to achieve remarkable learning results. The institute is based on Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2004), winner of the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an Outstanding Book on Education and Society, and will feature author Ken Bain and some of the best teachers in the 15-year study of excellence in teaching and learning. It also combines the resources of Montclair State University, Northwestern University, New York University, Georgia Tech, and Rhode Island School of Design. For more information, visit www.montclair.edu/tlrc/summerinstitute/ or www.nyu.edu/cte/summer06/.

- ACUBE's 50th Annual Meeting: The Revolution and Evolution of Biology Education. October 26-28, 2006. Millikin University, Decatur, IL.
The Association of College and University Biology Educators (ACUBE) is having its 50th annual meeting in October. This year, organizers invite ACUBE members who attend other education meetings (such as NABT, NSTA, ABLE, or HAPS), or who are involved in education activities at professional organizations (such as ASM, BSA, or APS), to represent their group in the poster/exhibitor sessions. The deadline for abstracts is May 31st. For more information, visit http://acube.org/50thannual/.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, with headquarters in Washington, DC, and a staff of approximately 50, AIBS is sustained by a robust membership of some 5,000 biologists and 200 professional societies and scientific organizations; the combined individual membership of the latter exceeds 250,000. AIBS advances its mission through coalition activities in research, education, and public policy; publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience and the education website ActionBioscience.org; providing scientific peer review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients; convening meetings; and managing scientific programs. Website: www.aibs.org.


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