Learning in an enclosed environment like no other place on earth, 18 high-school students from Extension’s Academic Connections program recently completed an eight-day immersion inside Biosphere 2.
Biosphere 2: Originally built for research and development of self-sustaining space-colonization technology. Image by John de Dios, via Wikimedia Commons
Located in Oracle, Arizona, 30 miles outside of Tucson, Arizona, Biosphere 2 is a glass-enclosed, 40-acre campus originally built for research and development of self-sustaining space-colonization. Surrounded by desert, the desolate structure is modeled on Earth, the first biosphere that dates back to 1991.
For these students, the distinctive course gave them hands-on, "under-the-glass" research and field work in climate change research, led by B2’s core of scientists from the University of Arizona.
Among the topics explored: sustainable use of water, energy and soils, as well as study of volatile organic compounds, marine viruses and urban heat effects, among many others.
Biosphere 2: Students under glass
Students kept a journal of the week's activities and gave presentations on what they learned, including how to apply that knowledge towards being "A Leader in Caring for the Earth."
The course is part of Academic Connections’ Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability program.
“This is one of those singular experiences that can’t be duplicated anywhere else on earth,” said Ed Abeyta, director of UC San Diego Extension’s K-16 education programs. “Inspired by both the science and the surroundings, I’m certain these students will remember this week forever.”