UConn researchers make most of $3 million grant through conservation summer camp


The Neag School for Education and the Agricultural School at UConn received a $three million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Researchers in the Neag School for Education and the Agricultural School at the University of Connecticut have teamed up to create an education program through intergenerational research made possible by a $3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources (CAHNR) professor and principle investigator of the research John Volin, runs a natural resource conservation academy in the summer, Todd Campbell, researcher and associate professor of science education, said.

The program hopes to help students make informed decisions about conservation in their community, Campbell said.

The NSF funding will help support the Clear Center, where the program is being run, because it is a self -funded center, Campbell said.

“It’s a really important role they play in supporting municipality and making informed decisions,” Campbell said.

The educational program they create will build off of what Volin’s work already started, Campbell said.

David Moss, researcher and Neag associate professor, said that the Ag school and Neag have been collaborating for the past five years or so, and that this project would be the fruit of this long term partnership.

However, this project will include intergenerational learning- as the participants will consist of groups of adult volunteers and high school age adolescents.

“This project will bring grown ups and youth together. The adults will act as stewards, caretakers of the community. We want them to instill these characteristics in the younger generation,” Moss said. “The younger kids from cities will bring information about technology.”

Campbell described the two generations as having reciprocal resources to support one another.

The program will move away from information presentation and toward embedding learning in real world experiences, Campbell said.  

“The key to this work is that we aren’t making up simulated science questions,” Moss said. “People will be tackling real world authentic projects in their communities. This gets people motivated to learn.”

Campbell said she hoped to share their findings with the national and international world.

“To me one of the real honors of receiving this grant is that it’s across various colleges in the university,” Moss said, “It was great we got an award that wasn’t confined to a single part (of the community), but a collaborative effort.”

Emma Krueger is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.krueger@uconn.edu.

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