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NSF Grant to Enhance Brownfield Action

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September 18, 2006. The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $450,000 to support the development and expansion of the award-winning environmental simulation Brownfield Action. The NSF-funded proposal, "Brownfield Action: Expansion and Evaluation of a Proven Inquiry-Based Approach to Teaching and Learning Environmental Science," is led by principal investigators Peter Bower, senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science at Barnard College and Frank Moretti, CCNMTL executive director. The grant will be used to update the simulation and to evaluate its effectiveness as it is deployed at partner institutions New York University, Connecticut College, Lafayette College, and Georgia State University.

In Brownfield Action, students play the role of environmental scientists charged with probing terrain suspected of being contaminated. The application simulates an actual field investigation, including interviews with local citizens and imposes budgetary constraints on the "scientists" as they collect and analyze data using tools to probe the ground, each with its own cost. Brownfield Action was named one of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' four Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities models in 2003.