The Civic Ecology Lab is examining how humans in cities and elsewhere are restoring and stewarding local nature. Its purpose is to support and conduct scholarship around civic ecology—a field of interdisciplinary study concerned with individual, community, governance, and environmental outcomes of community-based environmental stewardship practices. The lab works to answer questions about how community-based environmental stewardship emerges in places that have experienced gradual decline, conflict, or disaster.
Members of the lab combine research with outreach by conducting action research and volunteering with the civic ecology practices they are studying. Postdoc Yue Li conducted workshops and online courses for urban and rural environmental and education professionals across the US and in China. He demonstrated how these individuals form networks and produce educational innovations that are being used by environmental educators globally.
Alex Kudryavtsev (PhD 2013) helped stewardship groups in the Bronx conduct environmental stewardship programs for youth. He traced how the youth develop closeness with an ecological place in one of our nation’s most polluted communities. Current PhD students include Anne Armstrong, who taught a massive open online course (MOOC) on climate change, while investigating how educators frame climate change for their audiences. Bethany Jorgensen integrates her work, studying global microplastics along with research on how citizens can address plastic marine pollution. Daniel Rosenberg Daneri, plans to use his findings from interviews about how stewardship groups in Philadelphia invoke city place meanings to avert gentrification in a major urban development project in Newark.
The lab actively supports a global professional network of environmental educators and volunteer stewards through online courses and social media. The lab is collaborating also with Cornell University Press on an environmental education book series. The next book is Grassroots to Global: Broader Impacts of Civic Ecology and Climate Change Communication in Environmental Education. “The Civic Ecology Lab is global in scale,” says director of the lab Marianne Krasny, Natural Resources. “We support community-based initiatives that organically emerge. We interview them, we watch them grow and build their capacity. Through outreach, we provide a conceptual lens that allows them to see the importance of their work.”
The Civic Ecology lab was founded in 2008.