Global Engagement > Partnerships > Programs for Partner Institutions > GLE Project Urban Plant

Urban Plant Ecology and Botany

​Project Summary:

  • There is ecological diversity within Chicago and the Sao Vicenete region of Sao Paulo state, which stems from the region's climate, evolutionary history, competitive interactions (plant-plant; plant-animal), and mutualistic interactions (i.e. pollination and fruit dispersal), among other factors. Additionally, ecological landscapes (which include humans) are partially the result of human-landscape interactions shaped by public policies, cultural views on nature, and the ways of life of each region's human populations.

    This GLE assignment was an opportunity to provide students from Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) -Costal Campus and DePaul University -College of Science and Health a virtual exchange experience focused on plant ecology, morphology and classification. Groups of students exchanged information about the landscape from their respective cities, and the outcome of this GLE course was to create a bilingual calendar with two selected photos for each month, one from Brazil and other from the U.S. Each photo was accompanied by a text description of the photo's ecological and botanical relevance.

    Using a calendar was an excellent opportunity as it facilitated conversation on topics that would be of cultural interest from the students. For example, Thanksgiving (Dia de ação de graças​) has a name in Portuguese, but it is not widely commemorated as it is a U.S. specific holiday. Halloween is another holiday that is widely celebrated in the U.S., but not globally. Brazil is known for its carnival festivities, characterized by samba dancing and elaborate costumes, but carnival celebrations vary regionally within Brazil.

    The use of ecological landscapes also provided an opening to talk about public policies surrounding environmental conversation in each region at the federal level in each country, and to discuss the drivers of changing land use in both countries.

Project Length:

  • 7-8 Weeks

Technology Tools Used:

  • WhatsApp
  • Zoom
  • D2L

Interaction Mode:

  • Synchronous
  • Asynchronous

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students learned respect for and learned from the perspectives of others different from themselves.
  • Students gained knowledge of global interconnectedness and interdependencies.
  • Students gained knowledge to become stewards of global resources for a sustainable future.

Reflection Component:

  • Students reflected in the final part of the calendar assignment where they described a species in the photo and reflected on the experience, while giving feedback for future iterations for GLE Projects.

Christie Klimas

Christie Klimas

Institution: DePaul University
Discipline: Environmental Science & Studies
Course name: Applied Ecology

Odair José Garcia de Almeida

Odair José Garcia de Almeida

Institution: São Paulo State University (UNESP)
Discipline: Doutor em Ciências Biológicas
Course name: Urban Plant Ecology and Botany: A Comparison by County and Season

Partner institutions:

DePaul University
Chicago, IL, United States


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