Broadening the ecological mindset

Ecol Appl. 2021 Sep;31(6):e02347. doi: 10.1002/eap.2347. Epub 2021 Jun 28.


Over the past three decades, the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology (HF-SRPE) has been at the forefront of expanding the ecological tent for minoritized or otherwise marginalized students. By broadening the definition of ecology to include fields such as data science, software engineering, and remote sensing, we attract a broader range of students, including those who may not prioritize field experiences or who may feel unsafe working in rural or urban field sites. We also work towards a more resilient society in which minoritized or marginalized students can work safely, in part by building teams of students and mentors. Teams collaborate on projects that require a diversity of approaches and create opportunities for students and mentors alike to support one another and share leadership. Finally, HF-SRPE promotes an expanded view of what it means to become an ecologist. We value and support diverse career paths for ecologists to work in all parts of society, to diversify the face of ecology, and to bring different perspectives together to ensure innovations in environmental problem solving for our planet.

Keywords: broadening participation; data science; ecologies; grand challenges; near-peer mentoring; teamwork.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mentors*
  • Students*