A conservation management curriculum

Those now being educated will have to do what we, the present generation, have been unable or unwilling to do: stabilise world population; stabilise and then reduce the emission of greenhouse gases; protect biological diversity; reverse the destruction of forests everywhere; and conserve soils. They must learn how to use energy and materials with great efficiency. They must learn how to utilise solar energy in all its forms. They must rebuild the economy in order to eliminate waste and pollution. They must learn how to manage renewable resources for the long run. They must begin the great work of repairing as much as possible, the damage done to Earth in the past 200 years of industrialisation. And they must do all this while they reduce worsening social and racial inequities. No generation has ever faced a more daunting agenda. It was a call for the production of a conservation management curriculum by David Orr in his book. Earth in Mind, published two years after the Rio environment summit.  A conservation management curriculum is essential a systems approach to culture and ecology focusing on the ways in which natural resources and human resources come together in exploitative or conservation cultures. The aim of such a curriculum is to promote living sustainably on the fragile surface of an overcrowded planet.
In calling for a wise use of Earth's resources through an enabling education system, Orr is really asking for a new conservation management curriculum at all levels of education.  Conservation here  refers to the protection and sustainable use of all human resources including sustainable social management of cultural values which stabilise communities, resource management for human production systems, as well as the establishment and management of parks and protected nature sites.

The promotion of Orr's holistic cross-curricular conservation management curriculum has been a consistent objective of the Conservation Management System Consortium ( CMSC) since the late 1990s. It was then that the EU LIFE 'Community Environment Programme' funded a project involving the UK Conservation Management System Partnership, the University of Ulster, the education department of the National Museum in Cardiff and a group of European/international industries.  The aim was to evaluate the Consortium's conservation management system as a tool for biodiversity management of industrial sites (BIAS).  This work had an important educational component, which involved developing a knowledge framework for teachers and neighbourhood leaders to carry the Consortium's conservation management system logic, now embedded in its latest CMSi software tool kit, from professional users into the community. 
In 2005, the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Education in Europe (CIDREE) produced a European Union wide report into cross-curricular themes of personal, social and health education, citizenship education, etc for learners to cope with problems of living today. It also identifies a range of factors that influence the success or failure of such cross-curricular themes, either as stand alone components within a curriculum or embedded within existing subjects.. The research surveyed 27 countries through a range of methods.

Briefly, the report identifies some positive features for the implementation of a cross-curricular approach. These are that cross-curricular education should:
•Demand that pupils pull together appropriate knowledge from a range of subjects and relate it to everyday life;
• Be characterised by an objective and open-minded approach to controversial issues with attention for the quality and quantity of evidence;
• Use concepts as the intellectual building blocks and as essential aids to the categorisation, organisation and analysis of knowledge and experiences;
• Use participatory and experiential teaching and learning styles;
• Deal explicitly with questions and issues that enable pupils to explore fundamental aspects of our lives. 

These problems were actually addressed in an environmental management context by the BAIS projec, and subsequently, with the help of sponsorships from Chevron/Texaco (Wales), the BAIS educational framework, under the name of  'cultural ecology', became the focus of a prototype online resource for teachers and community leaders. It was developed by the CMSC in collaboration with the National Museum of Wales and Universities using the CMSC's conservation management software for courses in applied ecology.  In particular, these sponsorships have enabled a start to be made on the development of the BAIS cultural ecology framwework to create a conservation management curriculum modelled on the Welsh Government's vision for practical responses to climate change. 

Two e-learning tool kits, 'Articulate' and 'Moodle', have been adopted for the project. PowerPoint screen sequences present the basic information packages, which are integrated with case studies, mindmaps, quizzes, wikis, glossaries, choice-branching, forums and chats. The project is within the EU's ICOPER Best Practice Network.  ICOPER is part of the eContentplus programme of the EC.  Its mission is to collect and further develop best practices for higher education. It tackles issues like creating learning designs and teaching methods, authoring content for re-use, transferring knowledge in an outcome-oriented way and assessing it, or evaluating learning activities. Power point files are the central components of two e-learning tool kits, ‘Articulate’ and ‘Moodle, adopted for the project. Their slide sequences present the basic information packages, which are integrated with quizzes, wikis, glossaries, choice-branching, forums and chats
The above introduction is to encourage educationalists at all levels/sectors to join with the CMSC to test the use of its conservation management system as an educational tool to learn the logic of making all kinds of conservation plans and as the centre-piece of  self-learning on-line resources for a conservation management curriculum.

THIS IS AN ABBREVIATED MIND MAP TO SEE THE FULL VERSION GO TO http://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/75FC361A-ADD9-8F2C-9B35-4EC7698A7D82/

Denis.Bellamy, June, 2011.




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