New addition to Park Break Perspectives series focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration
The latest installment in the Society's Park Break Perspectives series gives us an inside look at how four graduate students worked across disciplinary lines toward a common goal as part of the March 2012 Park Break session at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. "Park Break: The challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary collaboration" is a joint essay by Cathy Bell (University of Vermont), Katherine Dennis (Texas A&M University), Cori Knudten (University of California–Davis), and Bridget Sharry (University of Oregon). Bell is a field naturalist; Dennis, a social scientist; Knudten, an environmental historian; and Sharry is an environmental studies scholar.
At first, the authors were apprehensive about how they would mesh their different perspectives and collaborate on the project for this Park Break, which was to develop an 8th-grade environmental education curriculum module on sustainability. But they soon found that cross-cutting collaboration was not only possible, but enlightening. "Despite some initial anxieties in attending the session, all of us found the interdisciplinary collaboration to be rewarding," the authors write. "As we pursue careers in the natural and social sciences, perhaps within the Department of
the Interior, we will draw on our Park Break experience as proof that interdisciplinary approaches are not only valuable but necessary for achieving sound stewardship of our nation’s resources."
The Park Break Perspectives Series is a a set of web-based research papers and essays produced by graduate students who have taken part on the GWS's Park Break program. The papers were developed in consultation with faculty members, park scientists, and other park professionals. Park Break Perspectives offers fresh looks at perennial and emerging issues through the eyes of up-and-coming scholars — the next generation of park leaders.