Promoting sustainability education through hands-on approaches: a tree carbon sequestration exercise in a Singapore green space

Sorain J. Ramchunder, Alan D. Ziegler
2021 Sustainability Science  
During a university class project related to climate change mitigation strategies, we utilized a university green space as a "living laboratory" for collaborative learning exercise to estimate landscape-level carbon biomass storage. The key objective of the exercise was to foster sustainability awareness with regard to the effectiveness of tree-planting initiatives to offset carbon emissions. Collaborative learning is a process by which students work together in small groups to accomplish a
more » ... on goal. As experiences are active, social and student-owned, the process leads to the development of a variety of cognitive and transferable skills that are beneficial in academia and the workplace. Through data collection/analysis, the carbon biomass exercise not only allowed students to assess critically the efficacy of a tree-planting initiative as a means to sequester carbon, but they became aware of the difficulties in performing research on complex environmental issues. The intention of the research was to give students an opportunity to practice data collection, data analysis, problem solving, teamwork, communication and scientific literacy skills, meanwhile utilizing the campus open green space to enhance the knowledge discovery process. Informal assessment and discussions with students demonstrated that the activity was successful in reaching a wide range of students with varying backgrounds and initial attitudes about climate change mitigating strategies, which was our objective. Our case study demonstrates how learning objectives can be integrated with university sustainability initiatives to improve learning and student engagement. Finally, we see green spaces as dynamic settings for learning about physical processes and issues related to environmental management and sustainability.
doi:10.1007/s11625-020-00897-5 pmid:33488835 pmcid:PMC7811337 fatcat:twgzfcy2xzghvkuvloqzn3i4ce