Natural History Collections as Emerging Resources for Innovative Education


Cook JA, Edwards SV, Lacey EA, Guralnick RP, Soltis PS, Soltis DE, Welch CK, Bell KC, Galbreath KE, Himes C, et al. Natural History Collections as Emerging Resources for Innovative Education. Bioscience. 2014;64 :725-734.
PDF2.53 MB

Date Published:



There is an emerging consensus that undergraduate biology education in the United States is at a crucial juncture, especially as we acknowledge the need to train a new generation of scientists to meet looming environmental and health crises. Digital resources for biology now available online provide an opportunity to transform biology curricula to include more authentic and inquiry-driven educational experiences. Digitized natural history collections have become tremendous assets for research in environmental and health sciences, but, to date, these data remain largely untapped by educators. Natural history collections have the potential to help transform undergraduate science education from passive learning into an active exploration of the natural world, including the exploration of the complex relationships among environmental conditions, biodiversity, and human well-being. By incorporating natural history specimens and their associated data into undergraduate curricula, educators can promote participatory learning and foster an understanding of essential interactions between organisms and their environments.


Cook, Joseph A. Edwards, Scott V. Lacey, Eileen A. Guralnick, Robert P. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, Douglas E. Welch, Corey K. Bell, Kayce C. Galbreath, Kurt E. Himes, Christopher Allen, Julie M. Heath, Tracy A. Carnaval, Ana C. Cooper, Kimberly L. Liu, Mark Hanken, James Ickert-Bond, Stefanie

Last updated on 09/22/2016