The curriculum modules are each major content elements which are generally stand-alone units, such as video or PowerPoint presentations. Some of the modules are organized into units that support a single course (e.g., all of the “lectures” for a course). Other modules stand alone and are used as a supplement for a course (e.g., a demonstration on how to dye cloth with natural products).

We have used the Ethnobiology Core Concepts and Competencies to help organize the Ethnobiology modules we have received. The following list is found in the Vision & Change for Undergraduate Ethnobiology Education in the U.S.A.: Recommended Curriculum Assessment Guides (2013). In the near future, these modules will be uploaded to the Economic botany (EconBotEd) portal of the Life Discovery Ed Digital Library (LDDL). LDDL is a collaborative project of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), Botanical Society of America (BSA), society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), and Society for Economic Botany (SEB). Through this collaboration, the educational resources uploaded will be peer reviewed. Once they have been reviewed, the information will be available for use by the community of ethnobiology educators.

Ethnobiology Core Concepts

Core concepts are main ideas that are central to the study of a particular discipline.

Recognition of differences and equality within and among organisms and cultures is crucial to good science. All scientists should be aware of themselves in the context of their fields. For those working with other cultures, recognizing people as stakeholders and collaborators in research is key to a truly ethical research program. For those working with non-human organismal systems, being aware of the fact that humans are part of natural systems, rather than external observers, redefines how such systems are studied and interpreted. In general, a respect and awareness for different world views is essential to academic growth and good science.

Diversity is defined ad the condition of having or consisting of elements or qualities. Recognition of diversity in organisms (including humans), societies and environment is acknowledged as an important idea, but not all learners truly understand the concept.

Life consists of great diversity: both organismic and cultural. All things change, both in space and time. Biologists recognize evolution as change over time. However, change over time occurs in all aspects of life, including how life is connected to its environment. Such changes also include the recognition of changes in cultures and human interactions. Recognizing that nothing is static, in space or time, is central to an understanding of science.

All living things are connected, both to each other and their environments. It is well understood that no individual or species or culture is truly isolated from others or their environments. Recognition of the extent of interconnectedness and directionally of relationships with others is a central tenant of many fields of science, including anthropology, ecology, and evolution, to name a few. The greatest difficulty for learners is to grasp the extent to which these connections may be truly complex, both in space and time.

Structure and Function
Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.

Information flow, Exchange and Storage
The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic and social information in context.

Pathways and Transformations of Energy and Matter
Biological systems grow and change by processes based upon chemical transformation pathways and are governed by the laws of thermodynamics.

Living systems are interconnected and interacting in systematic ways. Systems science (including ethnobiology) seeks a deep quatitative understanding of complex processes through an elucidation of the dynamic interactions among components of a system at multiple functional scales.

Ethnobiology Core Competencies

Competencies are skills that are essential for literacy in any discipline. Within Ethnobiology the following competencies are recommended:

Literacy and critical thinking skills
Skills include the ability to think critically, use quantitative and qualitative reasoning, ability to apply the process of science (framing, inquiry and validation), ability to recognize core concepts across multiple disciplines and biocultural systems, understanding reflective tools and their importance to critical thinking ability to apply appropriate ethics, and writing skills as well as literature familiarity.

Qualitative and Quantitative methodology skills
Skills include the ability to apply qualitative and quantitative reasoning and knowledge of different methodologies, their assumptions, structure, and purpose.

Bridging Skills
Skills include the ability to recognize and understand the assumption of disciplines, culture and methodologies; recognize and describe trans-cultural differences and similarities of worldviews; ability to communicate and collaborate with people who are thinking differently; ability to understand reciprocity; developing participatory models of community-based research; adaptable to different cultural and environmental situations; and linking social and technological systems.

This includes botanical or other organismal identification skills.

Interview and Fieldwork skills
Skills include reasoning, thinking, accepting, flexibility, understanding safety and risk management, collecting voucher specimens, propagation skills, understanding biology core concepts, understanding botanical knowledge, understanding anthropological core concepts, documenting classification systems, and understanding permit issues and obtaining legal permits.