history of the Segues to Science Project is intertwined with the history of the
teaching economic and ethnobotany at the University of Hawaii (formerly College
of Hawaii). This is summarized as follows:
- 1918 The first course is taught (Botany
2: Economic Plants) by Joseph Rock.
- While the campus was being developed,
Joseph Rock developed the landscape as a botanical garden featuring economically
important trees. Information has been compiled about each of the trees and has
been incorporated in courses as they have been taught.
- Over the next sixty years a series of
botanists continue to develop courses and research in the areas of economic and
ethnobotany. Chief among them is Dr. Harold St. John.
- In the 1970s Bea Krauss was teaching
ethnobotany to over 1000 students each year and because of that ethnobotany
become a household term in Hawaii. Subsequently, ethnobotany become part of the
elementary education and became incorporated to some extent in different parts
of the K-12 educational system as a whole.
- In the 1980s Isabella Abbott began to
teach ethnobotany emphasizing modern scientific research methods and she
expanded the range of ethnobotany courses being offered to include courses for
senior undergraduates and graduate students. Isabella Abbott systematically
reached out to Native Hawaiian students encouraging them to learn to be good
scientists and to be proud of the science of their traditional cultural
- In the 1990s Will McClatchey and Kim
Bridges began to expand the ethnobotany courses to include a global perspective.
This culminated in development of a Bachelor of Science in Ethnobotany degree
through the Department of Botany.
- In the 2000s the Department of Botany
organized an Ethnobotany Track including five core faculty members (Kim Bridges,
Will McClatchey, Mark Merlin, Tamara Ticktin and David Webb) in order to teach
the courses of the Ethnobotany degree and provide research leadership in the
area of Ethnobotany.
Throughout the above development period
there have been several observations that the faculty have consistently made
about the entry level students in the ethnobotany courses. They are
- non-science majors (and "turned-off" by
- members of self-identifying ethnic
- excited about exploring their own
- interested in learning from their
family and in their own (non-English) language
- interested in "alternatives" to modern
lifestyles and culture
Regular results of the ethnobotany
courses have included:
- non-science majors becoming interested
in science (or at least warming up to parts of it)
- new science undergraduate students who
changed majors based upon an ethnobotany course
- students interested in science as part
of their overall means of learning about their own family and
- new undergraduate and graduate students
from ethnic communities not usually well represented in sciences in
The Segues to Science Project was to
- Specifically articulate the
transitional developments that we have been observing particularly as they
relate to transitions between ethnobotany and other sciences.
- Quantify the observations so that the
project can be scientifically evaluated.
- Develop follow-up mechanisms to
encourage and track students participating in segues to see if they continue to
develop interests in science.
|Funded by National Science
Foundation Grant Award Number DUE06-18690|