Royal Society Partnership Grant for ICE biologist
Dr Ed Turner, Academic Director for Biological Sciences at ICE, has recently been involved as Scientific Partner in a winning Royal Society Partnership Grant with the Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury. The project ‘Can biodiversity make us happy?’ will foster collaboration between Cambridge and the school, to increase the school students' understanding of biodiversity and the well-being benefits of the natural world.
As well as visiting the University’s Institute of Continuing Education to receive training in biodiversity monitoring in the Madingley Hall grounds, students will also be encouraged to actively monitor biodiversity in the school’s newly-designed wildlife area.
"This project will really inspire our students and will give them a chance to design their own methods for monitoring biodiversity and well-being," says lead teacher on the project, Mrs Samantha Goodfellow. "These are difficult concepts even for experienced researchers and will allow our students to develop their scientific skills in key areas including using keys, books and technology (apps) to identify species. They will also be encouraged to use equipment to measure blood pressure and pulse and they will work to design their own questionnaires and interpret written and verbal communication. We will be encouraging other students from junior and secondary schools to actively engage in the project."
Ed Turner says: "This is an exciting project, which I am very keen to be involved with. As a research biologist studying the impacts of environmental change on the natural world, it is clear that we are experiencing rapid rates of species loss worldwide. Although this is driven by a range of anthropogenic changes, among the most insidious underlying factors exacerbating these losses is people’s increasing disconnection with the natural world, meaning that extinctions may go unnoticed and unchallenged. This project embodies an approach to addressing this issue by explicitly engaging young people in the natural world through an inspiring research and conservation project."
The project begins in March 2015 and runs for seven months.