Teachers > Perspectives >Science
Research Appropriate for Wilderness
"A thing is right only when it tends to
preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the community. The land ethic
simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include the soils, waters,
plants and animals or collectively, the land."
-- Aldo Leopold
One of the predominating ideologies of our
age is that nature is a vast machine that endlessly turns out the "goods" to
support human life. Aldo Leopold saw that that was not true; we needed to see
that our tools and action didn't do more harm than good. Our job is to be
stewards rather than users.
NPS is charged with protecting and
conserving the natural resources in the parks. This responsibility includes
wilderness -- those areas suitable for designation as wilderness and those
already designated as such. Scientific study is important to achieve this goal
but the study must not damage the park. Read the following NPS 2001 policy
guidelines on conducting research in the park.
First, compare the
National Park Service's 2001 Management Policy regarding scientific research in
wilderness areas within the national parks to the definition of, and
limitations on, wilderness described in The Wilderness Act of 1964.
Click on the people, to open the
handout on NPS Wildlife Management Policy
Next, read the
statements of objectives and methods selected from research projects currently
in progress in some of our national parks. Based on statements from The
Wilderness Act of 1964 and NPS Wilderness Management Policy, do you
agree or disagree that this research is suitable for wilderness
areas? Discuss each example with your classmates and briefly explain the
consensus opinion you reach on the handout.
Click on the pen and paper, to open
the handout on Objectives and Methods
work with your group to complete a study proposal for the NPS to pursue a
research project in wilderness lands. Suspend reality for this activity!
Your school's grounds have become
wilderness lands in a national park in your state. You are excited about
conducting research in the park's wilderness lands.
on the picture to find and print out the NPS Guidelines to Researchers for
Study Proposals. Your job will be to devise a research project to be completed
in the wilderness backyard of your school. You must complete and submit the
park's proposal form to gain permission to pursue your project.
- You may
need to discuss possible project objectives with your teacher before filling
out this form.
desired, respond to sections IIB, VI and VII with N/A (Not applicable).
Section VIII there may be N/A responses to some of the subtopics. However, make
sure to complete Subtopic H.
your teacher to take the role of NPS supervisor to evaluate your proposal, both
for its scientific quality and its suitability for wilderness research. Good