E-SCAPE (Environmental Science Coalition involving Animals through Public Education

E-Venture is for students K-12. The program provides field trips (E-Cursions) to the complex with activities for high school students. The program includes the development of ecosystems (E-Systems) to be managed and studied by students.

The Tiger Discovery Center will serve all grade levels. The TEKS guideline areas of science and math span all grade levels. The program requires students to address change, systems, patterns, living verses nonliving, adaptation, inherited traits, and the natural world. What better way could there be to study these issues than in a natural setting, led by knowledgeable instructors?

E-SCAPE proposes setting aside two distinct ecosystems (E-Systems) and three big cat habitats on the Tiger Creek property. These areas will allow students from area schools to observe, measure, and record natural processes that occur in these environments, which allows the students to play an active role in preserving them.

The E-Systems include both a woodlot and wetland system. Students will take measurements of soil porosity, test water samples, observe growth in plants labeled with observation numbers, and observe insects and record their measurements in a database that is accessible from their schools via the SUPERNet Network. As time goes by, students will be invested in the progress of their own E-Systems.

The big cat habitats include tigers, lions, and pumas, representing three continents. Weather data and the observation of animal behaviors lend an even deeper aspect to the project. Webcams placed into the animal's habitats will allow observations of the big cats from all remote sites at area schools and within the Tiger Discovery Center. As various students add data over time, trends can be observed and correlations drawn. The staff of TCWR can assist teachers and students in drawing correlations from the recorded data and in defining their impact and consequences for the students.

Through E-SCAPE, staff encourages students to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility that further enhances the success of these educational systems.

While the lower grade levels are participating with E-Cursions (site visits), including activities from Project WILD/ Aquatic, upper level students will have the added opportunities of advanced concurrent courses such as Conservation, Biology, and Ecology. These courses are the ones that small rural schools cannot afford to offer. The Tiger Discovery Center will facilitate distance learning equipment and offer online courses and ultimately a four-year degree plan through the World Wide Web. A full laboratory tying a local College into the education center to facilitate the course work is under the plan.

The E-SCAPE Education and Training Complex will support onsite training of land management, as this work will further assist in preserving the ecosystems. The E-SCAPE Project therefore joins strong, viable organizations in a plan that will help preserve, protect, and restore terrestrial ecosystems and rescue and protect endangered or threatened species while educating an entire generation and their families to be environmental leaders of the future. The project impacts an area where economic pressures are currently being placed on residents to industrialize many natural areas.

In grades K-12, students will participate in E-SCAPE through multiple site visits during the year, allowing them to complete the entire cycle of activities. Students who visit along with their classes will have the opportunity to address objectives in each of the educational systems.

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