Commitment to Students: The SoE is committed to passing on the knowledge gained in our scientific studies and also the enthusiasm we have for this knowledge and its many sources and lessons. As part of its commitment, the SoE offers several awards for student research excellence. We also offer mentorship and guidance to our student members. Our student members are active and exciting. And we recognize the importance and value of non-traditional education, through communities, outreach, and simple curiosity.

What are the educational imperatives of ethnobiology?* Education in Ethnobiology must be interdisciplinary, bridging the natural and social sciences. Interdisciplinary education needs to be developed systematically and with the flexibility to accommodate the interests of individual students and the variable strengths of different programs. Basic educational elements need to be defined, such as cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, organismal biology, comparative methodologies, quantitative skills, and evolutionary and environmental ecology. Ethnobiological education within a research context needs to be developed so that research is an integral part of all educational approaches. Education and outreach are major strengths of modern Ethnobiology. Ethnobiology education is taking place at neighborhood garden clubs and preschools and at international workshops from Mount Kinabalu to Madagascar. Undergraduate, graduate, and teacher training workshops abound, with policy-makers taking advantage of recent Ethnobiology training. Texts and manuals are being published every year, and there is a constant stream of popular nonfiction on Ethnobiology including children’s books. The Internet is being used—and can be used more effectively—as a tool to spread information and augment relevant discussion in Ethnobiology.

What kinds of educational research programs have ethnobiologists targeted?* For more than a decade, Ethnobiology has been easily incorporating research with broader impacts such as educational and community applications. Ethnobiology is integrating research and public needs for:

  • enhancement of teaching, training, and learning;
  • inclusion of underrepresented groups;
  • improvement of educational infrastructure;
  • dissemination of results to policy-makers, industry, media, and the general public;
  • benefits to the community and imperatives for society.

*Text based in part on the 2002 NSF Biocomplexity Workshop Report: “Intellectual Imperatives in Ethnobiology”, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO, excerpted with permission by Jan Salick.