Learning through Ecology and Environmental Field Studies (LEEFS)

Learning through Ecology and Environmental Field Studies (LEEFS) creates partnerships between Columbia graduate students and science teachers in New York City public schools. LEEFS emphasizes experiential learning and integrated inquiry, encouraging participants to cross disciplinary boundaries and ask broader questions raised by studies of ecology and environmental and earth science. The LEEFS program improves the communication skills of Columbia’s graduate students, preparing them to be scientist-citizens and members of the professoriate of the future. It elevates the scientific knowledge and hands-on skills of grades 6-12 science teachers, informing their educational practice, and it helps them stimulate their students’ interest in careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines. The LEEFS program is funded by a $3.1 million, five-year grant from NSF’s Division of Education and Human Resources.