The Diack Ecology Education Program provides a system of grants, workshops and resources that are distributed to teachers and students in Oregon to encourage them to involve youth in field-based science inquiry and ecology studies. Field-based science inquiry provides the perfect opportunity to get students out of the classroom and into the natural world. Field-based research projects provide a unique opportunity for students to learn critical thinking, data collection, comparative analysis and written and oral presentation skills - all valuable skills for any student.
In awarding grants, emphasis is placed on the study of living things and ecosystems through scientific inquiry. Of particular interest is the extent to which the students will see that their work is important to their community. The grant committee considers elements such as the project’s use of engaging educational and scientific methods, its age appropriateness, whether the project involves more than identification of plants and animals, how the project integrates other school subjects into the activities and how the students’ observations will be analyzed and reported.