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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Students Can Learn & Produce Real World Research

"Citizen science" has intrigued me since I learned how Cornell University's bird study program has incorporated annual bird counts into their scientific and outreach education programs. There are increasing numbers of outreach research programs being created and it is always good to know about them and pass them on to groups -- such as classes and homestudy families -- who would like to experience real world scientific research.

By learning the process of observation and experimentation, budding scientists and their families not only learn valuable skills, but make a difference while they are learning. How can you beat that?

Trees for Life offers an online journal "Trees for Life Journal: a forum on beneficial trees and plants" that supports this learning and doing process. It's worth exploring -- we all have a natural environmental lab available to us -- the plants that surround us -- and this is a way to put one's curiosity to good use. Here are a few of the operational options offered by Trees For Life -- I hope you check out their website for more details.

Students / Teachers

Looking for an exciting science project that makes a difference in our world? Or maybe you know about beneficial uses of trees or plants that could help people. Here you can learn about how to do a science experiment and share your knowledge and experience
  • Guidelines for Submissions: Categories of articles, file formats and other ways to share knowledge
  • Orientation to Research Methods: Learn how to conduct a research study, including the scientific method and common experimental designs
  • Rules for Research: Important information about ethical standards and informed consent
  • Guidelines for Research Manuscripts: How to organize your article for publication
  • Funding Sources: Apply for a grant to support your field study

Research studies

Small-scale field studies can be done by anyone with an understanding of the scientific method and the ability to perform an experiment. For studies that are conducted and featured in the journal, there are three levels of submission:

Study in Progress – You can post details of your research study as it happens—from the initial idea through every phase of development, experimentation and reporting—and get feedback from the community and an expert “mentor.”

Article draft – a draft of the final research article. Comments from the community and from an expert “mentor” can help refine the manuscript before submission for publication.

Research Article – final published article about a research study

The Trees for Life Journal program

A new online scientific journal focused on traditional knowledge and scientific studies of beneficial plants launched this month, announced Balbir Mathur, president of the non-profit Trees for Life. Trees for Life Journal: A forum on beneficial trees and plants will be a free, open access electronic forum, to bring together international articles about traditional medicine, small-scale field studies and scientific evidence regarding natural remedies and medicinal plants that could benefit humanity. The journal is available online at{InsertImage}

“Our journal aims to bridge the gap between grassroots knowledge and scientific research,” Mathur said. “By publishing formal and informal studies on medicinal plants and trees and the resulting herbal remedies, we hope to advance the use of these vital resources worldwide.”

Trees for Life is a non-profit organization that helps plant fruit trees in developing countries as a low-cost, self-renewing food source. The movement’s philosophy of “education, health and environment” will be evident in Trees for Life Journal, which aims to expand global knowledge about the medical and nutritional value of plants in order to educate citizens of third world countries.

Link to Trees for Life Journal

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists