Lake Erie College partners with The Nature Conservancy to provide new educational opportunities

Academics,

Following the launch of a new major in environmental science in fall 2016, Lake Erie College has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to provide expanded educational opportunities.

The partnership between Lake Erie College and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) reflects the College’s commitment to facilitate appropriate career pathways for students enrolled in its undergraduate programs of study. Students interested in careers in environmental regulation, toxicology, wildlife management, fisheries management, agriculture, environmental research, environmental management or related careers can now enjoy TNC’s preserves as part of their educational experience at LEC.

Coursework in environmental science at LEC requires an extensive amount of fieldwork, allowing students to experience firsthand the diverse and vibrant ecosystems and natural resources of northeast Ohio. TNC preserves included in the new agreement consist of Morgan Swamp and TNC’s Grand River Conservation Campus (Ashtabula County), Lucia S. Nash Preserve (Geauga County), J. Arthur Herrick Fen State Nature Preserve (Portage County), Beck Fen (Portage County), Crystal Lake (Portage County), and Flatiron Lake Bog (Portage County).

“We plan to utilize these locations for field trips, faculty and student research, experiential learning opportunities for our K-12 partner schools and professional development opportunities for regional STEM teachers,” said Dr. Johnathan Tedesco, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Lake Erie’s partnership with TNC was fueled by the passion of its faculty members in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Many of the faculty members have a deep interest in environmental research and preservation, and have a shared interest with TNC in research to support science-based decision making, applied learning and research opportunities, and improving access to environmental science-related fields of study.

“I’m very excited about this partnership,” said Tedesco. “It will not only create outstanding academic and research opportunities for LEC students, but it will enable us to work closely with TNC to make science education, in particular environmental science and conservation, much more accessible to students and teachers of all grade levels as well as the community at large.”

“We’re delighted to be able to partner with Lake Erie College because of our common interests in advancing science, increasing our knowledge to better address the region’s most pressing environmental issues and providing practical learning opportunities for students,” said Josh Knights, executive director of TNC’s Ohio Chapter.

As described on the organization’s website, TNC is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. TNC’s mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends by working across the globe on policy development, land acquisition, land management and restoration, research, environmental sustainability, recreation and education.

“This transformative partnership will establish Lake Erie College as a true destination for environmental science programs and research, utilizing the diverse ecosystems including the largest protected wetland system in Ohio,” said Dr. Bryan DePoy, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at LEC.

The environmental science major at LEC incorporates new courses in environmental regulation and environmental ethics, and includes added focus on soil science and aquatic ecology. Coursework includes courses in botany, zoology, ecotoxicology, environmental policy and regulation, chemistry and more. LEC envisions that the environmental science program will become a key priority for the institution and focus on grant acquisition, external funding, and curricula development in the years to come.

For more information on The Nature Conservancy, visit http://www.nature.org/ or contact Karen Adair, Central Lake Erie Basin Project Manager, at kadair@tnc.org. For more information on the environmental science program at LEC, contact Dr. Tedesco at jtedesco@lec.edu.

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