- Become a Member
- Start a Chapter
- For Senior Institutions
- Powered by Phi Theta Kappa
THEME 4: Exploring the Natural Environment
THEME 4 EXPLORING the NATURAL ENVIRONMENT What frontiers of the natural environment inspire exploration? The natural environment is comprised of all biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) things that occur naturally within a particular area in which human impact is kept under limited levels. It may be characterized by four attributes: features, functions, services and values. These attributes characterize ecosystems and, by extension, the natural environment. They are largely driven by an anthropomorphic perspective and do not always account for the intrinsic value of a natural environment system existing outside of human definition (I exist because I am, not because I can do something for you). As resources become scarcer and pressure for their use increases, how will these challenges impact the frontiers of natural environments? What opportunities exist to preserve the natural environment for future generations? What are the novel ways of maximizing existing resources in use HONORS IN ACTION to mitigate or reduce the impact on largely undisturbed, rapidly diminishing A (LION)FISH FRY areas of the natural environment? What frontiers are available in the natural environment to alleviate poverty, hunger and the growing expectations of OVERVIEW global entrants into middle classes in societies that formerly did not have Invasive species in the natural environment, particularly established ones? To what extent is it desirable and viable to restore balance the ocean, are both a growing challenge and a growing between the pressure to extract and convert the natural environment into opportunity. Internationally, the reality of invasive productive areas and to conserve it? species has caused many communities, particularly coastal communities and island nations, to examine the impact of these foreign entities on their local marine environments. EXPLORE MORE! This project examines the effect of lionfish in the waters of Attenborough, Sir David, Narrator & Alastair Fothergill, Director (2011). an island nation. Planet Earth. This 11-part DVD provides a visually beautiful global overview of the past, PREPARATION present and (possible) future of the planet Earth. SELECTION OF THEME The team decided they would select a theme that would prove to be of relevance to their Dinwiddie, Robert, Philip Eales, Sue Scott & Michael Scott (2008). Ocean. unique situation and on which they agreed they could Dinwiddie provides an overview of the ocean, its behavior and the varied sustain their interest over the course of the project. The species that inhabit it. Published by the American Museum of Natural History, fact that several pertinent aspects of island life are his work includes images of the underwater frontiers and a discussion about the inextricably linked to the natural environment made the importance of the ocean to the natural environment. selection of Theme 4 a viable as well as popular choice. The chapter was particularly interested in invasive fish Luhr, James F. (2007). Earth: Revised Edition, 2006. species in general and in lionfish and the impact of their Luhr traces the Earth's history as it relates to the planet's land, sea, atmosphere arrival on the exploration of their nation as a frontier and tectonic earth. The book explores weather patterns, glaciers, volcanoes, destination in particular. gems, minerals and animals and considers the health of the planet. DEVELOP RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Mulhall, Marjorie (2009). "Saving the Rainforests of the Sea: An Analysis _ What are positive and negative results of introducing of International Efforts to Conserve Coral Reefs." Duke Environmental invasive species into the natural environment? Law & Policy Forum. _ In what ways has the introduction of lionfish resulted in Mulhall outlines the principal threats faced by coral reefs, analyzes several main challenges and opportunities as they relate to frontiers approaches the international community is employing to conserve reef and the spirit of exploration in this island community? ecosystems and ultimately calls for a new international treaty devoted to _ To what extent do the lionfish affect indigenous fish protecting these unique living structures. populations? For more sources related to this theme, go to ptk.org/honors. ACADEMIC RESEARCH Team members began researching
the natural environment as a frontier in general, then moved to invasive _ Team members organized the fishing team and invited the Fisheries species in general terms and finally narrowed their investigation to the Department to train members to catch lionfish. prevalence of lionfish within international and local waters. The team's _ Members developed marketing tools and conducted the campaign research then focused on the original habitat of the lionfish and how to promote lionfish as a local delicacy and the fish fry fundraiser. and why it was introduced into local waters. After narrowing their _ Team members developed recipes for the fish fry and organized research, team members divided into smaller groups to investigate the teams that cooked, collected funds, greeted guests and cleaned up following questions: How have lionfish travelled to remote after the event. destinations? What species of local fish in our marine environment are _ Members shared the bar charts and maps created during the threatened by their presence? To what extent has the local marine research phase of the project with fellow students, faculty and ecosystem/habitat of fish changed? How have similar communities community members as well as with Phi Theta Kappa members at a dealt with this challenge? regional conference. ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS COLLABORATION Our team's analysis included the development of the following visual _ Science faculty shared valuable resources with team members and and quantitative items: guided members in the development of their bar graphs and maps. _ A bar chart of the numbers of lionfish caught and tagged over a _ The Conservation and Fisheries Department conducted a workshop three-year period. to teach proper fishing techniques. _ A bar chart of local fish that are prey of the lionfish and the numbers _ National Parks Trust administrators worked with team members caught and tagged over a three-year period. to locate available fishing areas and to develop the map used for _ Statistical analysis of data garnered to create the bar charts. researching lionfish habitats. _ A map of local water where high numbers of lionfish are found. _ The college's Marketing Department directed a seminar on effective marketing techniques and worked with team members to create a From their research, members found the increase in the lionfish plan and effective tools to market lionfish as a new frontier in food. population affected the populations of its prey in the marine environment of their island over a three-year period. The balance of ACTION Our action component for this Honors in Action project the marine ecosystem has changed, which could negatively impact the consisted of fishing and then cleaning, preparing and cooking lionfish island's tourism, a major economic force. What is the extent of the for our fish fry. The event served as an awareness campaign about the destruction to the natural balance? What is the role of any local ways invasive species can have an impact on marine frontiers, agencies working to mitigate the destruction of this marine marketing lionfish as a viable dining option and the importance of ecosystem? How have other communities turned this type of challenge ecosystem balance to our local economy. into economic opportunity? REFLECTION DETERMINATION OF ACTION Based on the research completed, the EVALUATION Team members used an evaluation survey to seek team determined lionfish were a threat and an economic frontier. Other feedback from fish fry and project participants. They sought to answer societies mitigated the problem of invasive species by marketing them the following questions: as new food choices. Our community could do the same and in doing _ What did you learn about lionfish and the impact they have on our so create a frontier of economic opportunity for the fishing, tourism island's marine frontiers? and restaurant industries as well as a healthy food choice for local _ To what extent were people willing to explore a new food option, residents. The team invited an environmental group to collaborate particularly one that many had seen as a threat to the environment? on a marketing campaign and (lion)fish fry to promote a new delicacy. _ Could lionfish be a viable addition to the local cuisine? Members embarked on an early morning fishing "training/expedition" and learned the art of net fishing or spearing lionfish. They created a Members developed their skills as researchers, particularly with the marketing campaign to promote the use of lionfish as a local delicacy. use of quantitative data and the ways that data could be developed The team then invited students, faculty and community members to into visual elements that would enhance members' ability to effectively clean, prepare and cook the fish, generating greater awareness. share the information with community members. Team members also enhanced their soft skills by learning about marketing and developing LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT To successfully plan, develop and tools that would promote the fish fry to a wide range of community implement their project, members requested and participated in a members. A majority of people who tried lionfish believed it was a workshop conducted by natural science faculty on conducting viable option for our local cuisine and might even become a delicacy environmental research. They engaged in an active learning exercise for tourists who visit the island and contribute to the local economy. conducted by the Fisheries Department to learn net and spear fishing. Finally, the chapter asked culinary arts faculty to conduct a workshop FUTURE IMPLICATIONS Members believe that promoting lionfish has on best practices for scaling and cooking this new fish. opened a new frontier in the cuisine of their community. Their research can stand as an example of how to take potential challenges to the IMPLEMENTATION natural environment and provide positive solutions that can promote LEADERSHIP ROLES and sustain the same environment. What is left undone? Determining _ Members organized the research team and engaged in ongoing whether the name "lionfish" will attract people to this new delicacy is reflection and evaluation of the research, action and leadership a next step. If the name does not work, finding a new name for the fish development components of the project. that encourages people to try it will be a creative option.