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Determining the willingness to pay for ecosystem service restoration in a degraded coastal watershed: A ninth grade investigation

Nicosia, Kristina, Daaram, Suhrudh, Edelman, Ben, Gedrich, Lev, He, Eric, McNeilly, Sarah, Shenoy, Vishnu, Velagapudi, Akhil, Wu, Walter, Zhang, Luna, Barvalia, Aneri, Bokka, Veena, Chan, Brian, Chiu, Jennifer, Dhulipalla, Sai, Hernandez, Victoria, Jeon, Jenny, Kanukollu, Pranav, Kravets, Pearl, Mantha, Amrita, Miranda, Colin, Nigam, Vishan, Patel, Meghnee, Praveen, Sam, Sang, Thomas, Upadhyay, Shruti, Varma, Tanvee, Xu, Camilla, Yalamanchi, Bhavish, Zharova, Masha, Zheng, Allen, Verma, Rashika, Vasslides, James, Manderson, John, Jordan, Rebecca, Gray, Steven
Ecological economics 2014 v.104 pp. 145-151
curriculum, decision making, ecosystem services, education programs, learning, science education, social sciences, students, teachers, watersheds, willingness to pay
Over the course of a school year, a high school biology class and a local watershed partnership worked together to design a study to determine the willingness to pay for ecosystem service restoration in a local degraded watershed. With research control given to the teacher and her classroom as part of their in-class honors biology curriculum, the result was a student designed/written, and professionally structured, research manuscript. The aim of this collaboration was to: (1) integrate quantitative social science into the K–12 science curriculum to foster learning about the nature of social science investigation in a real world context; (2) create a community-based science partnership; and (3) generate social science data useful for decision-making that could withstand scientific peer review. In this commentary, we present the written product of the classrooms' work to illustrate the type of information that can be generated by a participatory science education program, along with a reflection from the students and project researchers about opportunities and barriers to conducting authentic social science research in K–12 classrooms.