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Schoolyard Long-Term Ecological Research (SYLTER)

Since 1999/2000, WISCIENCE has partnered with the Center for Limnology’s NSF‐funded North Temperate Lakes LTER to develop an educational arm of the project, including ecology-related curriculum development opportunities and educational programming for K‐12 students and teachers. An NSF Schoolyard LTER supplement grant specifically supports this educational collaboration.

The LTER site has two regions, the Trout Lake Region and the Madison Lakes Region, and activities take place both in Dane County and in northern Wisconsin. The programming and initiatives of this collaboration have led to the integration of hands‐on ecological research into the science curriculum of the Verona Area School District, including four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Ongoing programming for K‐12 teachers includes in‐depth summer research experiences for approximately 35 teachers each year and a three‐week professional development course for middle and high school science teachers, Inquiry‐Based Teaching and Learning, which emphasizes quantitative reasoning and science literacy development.

Programming for K‐12 students includes a two‐day limnology course serving 80‐100 elementary students and 40 middle school students each winter, regular field trips for students in northern Wisconsin, and outreach activities across Dane County that provide opportunities to participate in field studies of local watersheds.

UW–Madison undergraduates are involved in much of this programming. In addition to ongoing programming, there are workshops, institutes, and other short‐term projects and collaborations as demand and opportunity arises.