Smithsonian Science Education Center Launches New Biodiversity Guide for Youth

February 22, 2022
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The Smithsonian Science Education Center, in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership, announces the launch of Biodiversity! How can we balance the needs of people with the needs of other living things? This community research guide for youth ages 11–17 is the newest guide in the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals series. Based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to help young people understand the relationship between people and other living things in their community to ensure a more sustainable world.

Using the guide, young people explore the question “How can we balance the needs of people with the needs of other living things?” It includes current research and activities to help students conduct investigations into what the people and other living things in their communities need to survive, and how the intersection of those needs can result in conflict. By examining their own perspectives and the perspectives of subject-matter experts featured in the guide and using their communities as their laboratories, students generate customized, equitable solutions for the conflicts in their community and contribute to a more sustainable planet.

“As a global community we face many challenges that students have questions about—biodiversity loss, climate change, pandemics,” said Carol O’Donnell, director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center. “This community research guide encourages young people to discover, understand and act on questions about balancing the needs of plants, animals and soil organisms with those of people. It is an important step forward in the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s effort to create and promote a transdisciplinary approach to STEM Education for Sustainable Development (STEM4SD), in line with the Smithsonian Institution’s mission to promote life on a sustainable planet.”

The official launch of Biodiversity! will be featured as part of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s virtual event Feb. 24 with recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Smithsonian Science Education Center will disseminate the information to youth worldwide in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership. The guide is free.

Biodiversity! How do we balance the needs of people with the needs of other living things? is made possible through the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

About the Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is transforming K–12 Education Through Science in collaboration with communities across the globe. The SSEC is nationally and internationally recognized for the quality of its programs and its impact on K–12 science education. Visit the SSEC website and follow SSEC on Twitter and Facebook.

About the InterAcademy Partnership

Under the umbrella of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), more than 140 national, regional and global member academies work together to support the vital role of science in seeking evidence-based solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. In particular, IAP harnesses the expertise of the world’s scientific, medical and engineering leaders to advance sound policies, improve public health, promote excellence in science education and achieve other critical development goals. Visit the IAP website and follow IAP on Twitter and YouTube.

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