Introduction:

Biomes are universally defined as largely connected ecosystems of Earth's surface that share similar characteristics in climate, vegetation, and animal life. Depending on where you look however, classic biomes of the world are categorized a number of different ways. For example, according to www.worldbiomes.com there are five major biomes and they include aquatic, desert , forest, grasslands and tundra . Another resource might say that there are seven biomes adding Taiga as one and breaking up “Forest” into Rain Forest and Temperate Forest (Donnelly, 2003). Yet another resource states that there are nine major land biomes and two water biomes adding chapparal/scrub , alpine and polar for the land biomes and breaking down the aquatic biome down to freshwater and ocean (Davis, 2007). No matter where you look, you are going to find something different. But what these classic biomes fail to recognize is that humans have drastically changed the very ecosystems that defines them, and this makes current biome maps not very realistic (Ellis & Ramankutty, 2008). The study of the classic view of biomes serves as an important basis about where vegetation and animal life would be if humans did not live here, and therefore still hold a great importance in teaching this view in our schools. As defined by Ellis and Ramkutty, Anthropogenic Biomes, also called “Anthromes” or “human biomes” redefine this classic view of biomes in a contemporary, human-altered form by incorporating sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems. There are many environmental issues that surround us in our everyday lives. The study of Anthromes can help us understand how humans have influenced the environment, and how we have changed the world that we live in today.


There is great importance for teaching environmental studies to students of all ages. As outlined in the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, environmental education increases student engagement in science, improves student achievement in core subject areas, provides critical tools for a 21st century workforce, and helps address the nature deficit disorder. However, there lies many issues with environmental education in our school systems, and studies show that the U.S. falls behind in environmental literacy (www.fundee.org). As cities grow and the world becomes more urbanized, we are finding fewer and fewer interactions between children and the natural world (Mitchell, B. & Gillespie, R., 2007). Yet the first steps toward developing environmentally aware citizens is through respect and appreciation of the world that surrounds us (Blumstein, D., & Saylan, C., 2007). Teachers recognize the fact that just providing students with the information about environmental issues is not enough (Gayford, 2000). Environmental studies is a great place to provide hands-on learning and field trips that gets the students out in the natural world. Parks, zoos, nature centers, camps and other facilities are a great place to start with getting students out of the classroom, and these facilities are generally staffed by other educators that want to help students obtain a greater understanding of many environmental topics (Carleton-Hug, A., Hug, J., 2009).


So how can educators integrate Anthromes into today’s classroom? First, we need to investigate current state curriculum standards to see where Anthromes can be integrated. Based on this information, we can create new lesson plans and/or adjust current lesson plans. The lesson plans in this wiki are categorized in the "LP" section of the navigation tool. The classic biomes in the navigation tool start with "CB", and the anthropogenic biomes listed start with "AB".



Purpose:

This project is geared towards teaching middle school students about Anthropogenic Biomes. The term Anthromes will be used, due to the age level of this group. This wiki can be used two different ways. The first way is for teachers to use it as a reference tool. The second way is to have students use the wiki to gain a better understanding of what anthromes are and how they redefine our classic biomes. Each page of this wiki serves as some sort of purpose. This wiki is going to highlight 9 classic biomes (CB): Alpine, Chaparral/Scrub, Deciduous Forest, Desert, Grassland,Rainforest, Savanna, Taiga and Tundra. We are going to also compare these classic biomes to the 5 Anthropogenic Biomes (AB) and the Wild Lands: Croplands, Dense Settlements, Forested, Rangelands and Villages. Finally, we will have some sample lesson plans (LP) that can be used to integrate Anthromes in the middle school science curriculum .




Blumstein, D., Saylan, C. (2007). The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It). PLoS Biology, 5.6. Retrieved from http://www.plosbiology.com

Davis, B. (2007). Biomes and Ecosystems. Pleasantville: Gareth Stevens

Donnelly, K (2003). Biomes of the Past and the Future. New York: Rosen

Ellis, E. C. & N. Ramankutty. 2008. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(8):439-447

Gayford, C. (2000). Biodiversity Education: a Teacher's Perspective. Environmental Education Research. 6.4, 347-361

Carleton-Hug, A., Hug, J. (2009). Challenges and opportunities for evaluating environmental education programs. Evaluation and Program Planning. Retrieved from http://www.elsevier.com

Miller, T. (2003). Environmental Science. United States: Brookscole

Mitchell, B., Gillespie, G. (2007). Graduate Students Take to the Field in K-12 Education. PLoS Biology, 5.6. Retrieved fromhttp://www.plosbiology.com
Davis, B. (2007). Biomes and Ecosystems. Pleasantville: Gareth Stevens

Donnelly, K (2003). Biomes of the Past and the Future. New York: Rosen

Ellis, E. C. & N. Ramankutty. 2008. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(8):439-447