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“Teaching Trees: Using Dendrochronology to Teach Landscape Ecology”

Authors: Samantha Jones*, Bemidji State University
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: field-based pedagogy, dendrochronology, landscape ecology
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Field-based pedagogy is relatively uncommon in teaching landscape ecology, despite its value in developing conceptual understanding and research competence. Numerous factors challenge integration of field-oriented instruction. Among the most prevalent constraints are declining funding, the time burden to plan and prepare field activities, and technological alternatives to leaving the classroom. These factors combine in contributing to an observed decline in field-based learning across geography programs.
The importance and yet lack of fieldwork in landscape ecology motivated this qualitative action research study to explore the merits of using dendrochronology fieldwork activities to teach landscape ecology theory. Undergraduate student perceptions and experiences were evaluated through survey and reflection card responses to assess the effectiveness of field-based dendrochronology activities. A majority of students (75%) reported learning extremely well through field-based activities, and demonstrated enhanced comprehension of landscape ecology theories through engagement in dendrochronology fieldwork and lab activities. These findings complement other research in field-based pedagogy and expand its applications in teaching landscape ecology.

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