Photo Credit: Shelby Gruss
Develop and incorporate instructional content for K-12 undergraduate and graduate courses on the design and assessment of diverse perennial circular systems, resilience, ecosystem services, and economic value.
RCAP collaborators from universities across the US host student interns to work on topics projects related to diverse, perennial, circular agroecosystems. These internships provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on research experience, complete and independent project, and learn about research taking place across multiple disciplines and agroecological contexts. Interns will be based at one university, but will interact with students across the country to learn and share about the research occurring in their labs. Below you can find information about the internship opportunities at each RCAP collaborating locations.
To enhance the comprehension of the expansive and intricate RCAP project, graduate students engaged in the initiative established the Graduate Forum. This platform facilitates collaboration among the academic contributors involved in RCAP, including graduate students, lab managers, and assistants. Through monthly meetings, participants can exchange research progress, insights, and papers for discussion, promoting a deeper understanding of the scope of the Resilience CAP Grant and fostering novel perspectives on their work. The forum also offers a supportive environment for honing presentation skills for conferences and presentations, with a rotating manager ensuring task completion and participation, while a recorder documents discussions and insights, jointly shaping the meeting agendas.
In higher education, collaborative and critical thinking are essential for comprehensive subject understanding. Within the RCAP framework, topic seminars provide a platform for a student group to convene weekly and explore specific aspects of a sub-topic within a larger grant. At the University of Maryland, students are currently investigating “Challenges and Prospects for Sustainability in Agriculture,” focusing on “Plant Diversity’s Impact on Insect Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.” This seminar format enables in-depth exploration, potentially leading to publications. The seminars’ flexible structure empowers students to guide discussions, and shared leadership cultivates equal opportunities for graduate students of various levels. The rotation of leadership perspectives allows diverse research approaches and skill showcases. Encouraging early career collaboration nurtures mutual learning and diverse thoughts within seminars, benefiting students and their future projects alike.
Objective 6 of RCAP involves integrating educational activities into existing curricula, offering a flexible alternative to larger integration efforts. While most RCAP activities require substantial time for integration, smaller educational activities provide students and teachers with freedom to incorporate RCAP research at their own pace. These activities are primarily designed for students in grades K-12, aiming to instill an early understanding of resilience, ecosystem services, and agricultural management. Ranging from short projects to weeklong summer programs, these activities cater to different age groups, with some being more intricate and suitable for older students, while others focus on conveying fundamental concepts. The descriptions of these activities serve as a means for RCAP collaborators to share public communication methods. However, they can also be shared with educators across all levels to include them in their curricula, fostering cultural awareness of these topics from a young age.
RCAP’s collaborative and inclusive approach aims to produce accessible information for farmers, students, and instructors. Effective communication between RCAP research and external instructors is pivotal for disseminating accurate educational materials. To achieve this, comprehensive educational modules have been developed, serving as detailed coursework that teachers from diverse backgrounds can replicate in their classrooms across the US. These modules offer background information, instructor guidelines, learning outcomes, material lists, and step-by-step activity methods, along with additional resources such as presentation slides and proposed coursework. Designed for any age group, these modules can be adapted by instructors to suit different ages and disciplines, with the overarching goal of equipping educators from various fields with understandable material to integrate RCAP-related content into their courses effectively.