Role Play: Wind Power — Wildlife Conflict (25 percent)
Addresses Course Outcomes 1-3:
- distinguish among different factors that influence wildlife population levels, including reproductive strategy of the species, history of exploitation, quality of habitat, and climate trends.
- apply knowledge of fundamental ecological and biological principles to analyze critically the impact of human activities including pollution, introduced species, harvesting, and development on wildlife populations and communities.
- outline the history of wildlife conservation and management to assess the current status of conservation efforts in the United States and globally.
Goals of this assignment include
- improving information literacy skills by studying impacts of alternative energy development on wildlife ecology
- developing skills in critical thinking and persuasive communication about the controversial issue of wildlife management through role play
In our society, the pressure to develop new sources of energy is great and growing. Often, alternative energy sources are considered better for the environment, but there can be unexpected conflicts between any type of energy development and the natural environment. Solar installations in California’s Mojave are threatening the highly-territorial desert tortoise, and corn grown for biofuels may be heavily sprayed with pesticides that poison local waterways. For our role play, we will consider the potential conflicts between wind power installations and wildlife.
There are two components to this assignment. First, you will need to research conflicts between wind turbine installations and wildlife, which may include direct killing of wildlife, ecological impacts of wind development (on land or off shore), climate change implications, environmental justice questions, and other resource-allocation concerns. You will need to choose a position, or character, to defend in the class debate and focus your search on resources that will help you defend that position (whether or not you actually agree with that viewpoint). Then you will need to post a well-developed report of at least five paragraphs, presenting from scientific, economic, and other evidence to support your character’s position on wind power in relation to its wildlife impacts. Second, each of you will need to stay “in character” and take an active, evidence-based part in the class discussion about wild life and wind power development while playing that particular role in the discussion.
You are free to choose any significant role you prefer. More than one person may take the same perspective (e.g., that of a farm owner), but it is recommended that you develop a unique role for yourself. Think creatively and specifically—for example, instead of just taking the role of “farmer,” perhaps you could be a farmer in New York’s Marcellus shale region who needs extra income from his land to avoid foreclosure, or a farm owner who retired to the same area to hunt and enjoy local wildlife. Here are some suggestions of possible roles:
- economically stressed landowner
- whale watch tour boat owner
- bat researcher
- President of the Audubon Society
- climate change denier
- urban-based tax payer
- electric car purchaser
- coal miner
Grading ( 25 %)
Part 1: Role Play Research and Report (15%)
Conduct research into wind power-wildlife conflicts, using the Internet, books, scientific journals, personal interviews, or other reliable sources. Choose a viewpoint, and write a five-paragraph (or longer) report from that individual’s perspective on why wind power should or should not be developed, any changes that person might recommend in development and regulation, and other energy & wildlife-related issues of interest to that person. Post your report in the “Role Play: Wind Power – Wildlife Conflicts” class discussion by 11:59 p.m. on the due date in order to receive full credit. Please note that the project is due mid-Week 4 to allow plenty of time for discussion the rest of the week.
The 15 points for this portion of the project will be allocated according to a rubric that will be available in the classroom under Assignments. Note: 4 references required for this assignment.
Note: your role play assignment needs to be posted in the discussion and submitted in the Assignment folder on the due date. Submission in the Assignment folder is required for your grade to be recorded. Submit file with your last name as part of filename, plus Role Play (e.g., DunlapRolePlay.doc).
Part 2: Role Play Discussion (10 %)
Stay in character when making comments in the “Role Play: Wind Power – Wildlife Conflict” discussion threads. You are expected to make substantive comments to at least three postings by your classmates, using information you gathered in your research to support or refute (politely) the arguments of other characters in the discussion. To receive full credit, you need to contribute significantly to the discussion with your posts. Simply saying that your character agrees or disagrees will not earn points for this assignment. Your first two postings can earn up to 60 points, and the third up to 40 points of the 100 possible, based on the criteria established for discussion comment evaluation as described in the Course Syllabus. Citations are not required in the discussion comments, but they may sometimes be desirable.
Please continue to observe respectful discussion etiquette, regardless of the character you are depicting.
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