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Castle, Lisa [1].

Lessons Learned from Ranking Medicinal Plants.

In collaboration with the United Plant Savers, undergraduate students in plant biology classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) have assessed medicinal plant species in order to quantify their vulnerability to over-harvest. In addition to providing the scores to the United Plant Savers to be used in setting conservation priorities, each class of students created and presented a poster at a local or national conference. This project requires students to find and sort through data from diverse sources, expand their use of biological terminology, synthesize information in a novel way, and collaborate in order to communicate the results. The majority of SWOSU biology students are pursuing biomedical careers and many view the required plant science courses as obstacles rather than opportunities, yet the medicinal plant assessment project has been successful in engaging students in “authentic” science while developing skills relevant to any STEM career. Students who have assessed plants report they have increased their scientific knowledge and skills, and the vast majority recommend the project for future classes, despite frequently describing the project as “frustrating”. Here I present three types of lessons learned from conducting this project in five different classes: 1) the scores and plant descriptions created by the students 2) the successes relevant to broader educational goals and 3) suggestions for implementation at other institutions.


1 - Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Biology, 810 E. Cedar Ave, Weatherford, Oklahoma, 73096, United States

Keywords:
education
conservation
medicinal plants.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Number:
Abstract ID:36
Candidate for Awards:None