YLACES seeks to develop citizens who can think scientifically, utilizing the environment as a learning laboratory where students conduct inquiry-based research and contribute to a better collective understanding of our changing world.
To develop critical analysis and thinking skills, young minds need to experience the scientific approach of developing hypotheses, taking careful, reproducible measurements, and reasoning with data. Inquiries should begin early and grow in quality and sophistication as learners progress in literacy, numeracy, and understanding social interactions and society.
Taking and reporting environmental measurements - participating in citizen science - offers youth a way to contribute to understanding the Earth system. Generally youth like contributing to the grown-up world of research and this starts their engagement in doing science by conducting their own research projects.
While classroom learning will always be important, extending science education into the great outdoors offers unparalleled academic, physical, social, and emotional benefits for students. The environment provides a myriad of topics for research that are within the intellectual grasp of students across a wide range of grades and ability levels, from simple budburst observation to more complex soil composition analysis. Outdoor learning helps students hone their senses, instill a sense of personal responsibility, and acquire a greater appreciation for nature and the need to protect it. For cash-strapped school systems and informal education programs, providing students with opportunities to conduct meaningful scientific inquiry outdoors can occur with modest investments in equipment and technology.
Additional Grant Opportunities
Those seeking support for educational materials development, systemic initiatives, or creative ideas that support students learning science by doing science or wishing to partner on other opportunities should contact YLACES via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.