Teachers > Perspectives >Science
People have always depended on nature for
their survival. From early hunting and gathering societies, to modern
agricultural ones, the same processes have occurred. Photosynthetic organisms
have captured the sun's energy and made it available for heterotrophs, such as
ourselves; decomposers have recycled nutrients. Interactions among predators
and prey have kept populations in check. Symbiosis has ensured that organisms
will be able to survive in many different environments.
For the past century, ecologists have
applied scientific principles to the study of organisms and their environment,
or ecology. However, much is still unknown. As humans continue to change the
environment, new interactions are observed and the fate of natural areas
becomes more precarious throughout the world. According to the National Park
Service, our national parks are reservoirs of information of great value to
humanity. As such, the parks can and should be centers for broad scientific
research and inquiry.
Click the map and visit the NPS
science and research site, Research in the Parks. Once there, drag your
cursor over specific states to visit different research projects in U.S.
Divide into research groups and then divide
the regions listed below among the groups. Each group should choose 3-6
research projects to investigate.
Western U.S.: AK, HA, WA, OR, CA, MT, NV,
ID, UT, CO and WY
Southwestern U.S.: AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR and
Midwestern U.S.: ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA,
MO, WI, IL, MI, IN and OH
Northeastern U.S.: PA, ME, VT, NH, MA, NY,
CT, RI, NJ and DE
Southeastern U.S.: MD, WV, VA, KY, TN, NC,
SC, GA, AL, MS and FL
When you have chosen
your research projects, click on the notepad and use the Student Handout:
Research in the Parks to take notes.
After you have
completed your investigation, meet together to share what you have learned.