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Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Overview

Cultural Ecology Curriculum Overview

Cultural Ecology of Eastern Pennsylvania is a high school / early college environmental education curriculum that provides teachers and students with a cultural/ecological perspective of patterns of landscape change in the Lehigh and Delaware valleys of eastern Pennsylvania, by investigating the interconnections and cause-effect relationships between humans and the environment.

The multi-disciplinary curriculum includes five units that span the course of 15,000 years. Unit 1 provides a foundation of ecological principles and concepts that students will use throughout the curriculum. Unit 2 examines the arrival of the first humans in Pennsylvania and the subsequent development of Native American culture in eastern Pennsylvania. The curriculum progresses to European settlement in Unit 3, and the 19th-century Industrial Revolution and 20th-century industry in Unit 4. Unit 5 examines the reclamation of damaged natural resources, through environmental awareness and laws that mandate the protection of water, air, and land. Unit 5 concludes with a detailed look at current environmental issues that pose a threat to eastern Pennsylvania and the rest of the planet.

Student Goals and Expectations

Lessons in this curriculum will help your students:

  • learn to critically examine the world around them
  • learn how to investigate connections between themselves and other living organisms
  • identify relationships and connections between humans and the environment over a long periods of time
  • understand how and why humans and natural causes affect and change the environment and its ability to support life
  • develop an “ecological perspective” that will influence the way they view and interact with the natural world

Contributing writers and editors:

  • Lance Leonhardt, a retired biology/ecology teacher with 35 years of service in the Saucon Valley School District, Northampton County; curriculum planning, author, and video development
  • Dennis Scholl, retired Education Manager at the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and former elementary-level environmental education consultant at Saucon Valley School District; project manager, author, and curriculum editor

Feedback is valuable to the success of the curriculum.

Prepare for a fascinating journey through time, an investigation of the world around you and the interconnections between you and other living organisms. The lessons in this curriculum will help you and your students learn how personal and collective decisions and actions can affect the environment and its ability to support life. Cultural Ecology of Eastern Pennsylvania follows the decisions of many individuals and groups over a span of 16,000 years.

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