"We were thrilled with the first class of ECO Classroom educators and look forward to the 2013 program," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "We look to build on last year's success by expanding professional development opportunities for educators and making real-world science connections with students in their classrooms."

The ECO Classroom program brings groups of public school teachers from across the United States –to CI's Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network ( http://www.teamnetwork.org/en/about ) Volcan Barva site in La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica, where they participate in field data collection on plant and animal biodiversity, climate and land use using TEAM scientific protocols.

"What better way to inspire teachers to be passionate about ecology and environmental science than to take them to a tropical forest?" asked Sandy Andelman, Senior Vice President of Conservation International. "Building on last year's success, we're excited to bring our second team of teachers to the site in Costa Rica to become part of the TEAM group, using cutting-edge technology to study how climate change is affecting tropical forests," she added.

It is widely acknowledged among educators and policymakers that insufficient numbers of students are entering into science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. One way to address this issue and emphasize environmental stewardship is to motivate educators to engage students in the sciences and to bring unique learning opportunities into their classrooms with real-world curricula and hands-on experiences such as ECO Classroom.

During last year's inaugural two-week expedition, 16 ECO Classroom teachers from across the United States conducted group projects in the field and created lessons based on their projects dealing with land use, forest carbon sequestration, geographic information system mapping and natural resource management using TEAM scientific protocols. They then returned to their schools with an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between biodiversity, climate change and human activities, and were better equipped with new techniques and resources to enhance their classroom teaching.

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