Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.
Exploring and Learning Fire Ecology through Place Based Science Inquiry Learning
Eveglades National Park, Florida
National Fire Plan, Community Assistance*
In March 2010, Everglades National Park and Miami Dade College School of Education conducted a successful three-part lesson on the role of fire in maintaining a healthy ecosystem within the Pine Rocklands of Everglades National Park. This project was made possible through a grant from the National Park Foundation to create place-based science inquiry learning experiences in national parks. Everglades National Park was one of four parks nationwide that received this three-year grant.
The program had two primary goals: first, to introduce pre-service teachers in the community to Everglades National Park and show how it can be used as a teaching resource when they begin working in the classroom; and second, to increase education and understanding about fire ecology and prescribed fire management among local community members and show pre-service teachers how they can use the concept of fire ecology to teach a variety of subjects in the classroom.
In the classroom, participants used their science process skills to explore the elements of the fire triangle and discuss what is needed for fires to occur, how fires may be extinguished and how fire spread may be stopped. They used the scientific method to conduct an experiment to understand the role of fire and ashes in nutrient cycling in the ecosystem.
In the field, participants conducted inquiry based activities and gathered vegetation data similar to what the fire effects team collects. Participants learned about fire adaptations and how fire affects and maintains the habitat for local plants and animals. They gathered and analyzed data to discover the role of fire in ecosystem maintenance and preventing forest succession and subsequent habitat loss.
The students' field and classroom experiences helped them realize and articulate the role of fire in maintaining a healthy Pine Rockland ecosystem. They discussed the consequences of habitat loss and the importance of fire in conserving this ecosystem and educated their family, friends and peers on what they had learned.
Contact: Maya Vaidya, Fire Ecologist
Phone: (305) 242-7055