Students learn about the value of soil as a natural resource (regulates water, sustains plant and animal life, filters pollutants, cycles nutrients and supports structures). Then explore the importance of having/maintaining healthy soil. They will explore how different individuals describe healthy soil (to an agriculturalist means highly productive land that sustains or enhances productivity therefore enhancing profits; to consumer it means plentiful, healthy and inexpensive food for present and future generations; to environmentalist it means functioning at its potential in an ecosystem with respect to biodiversity, water quality, nutrient cycling, and biomass production).
Students explore the trade-offs between ranchers keeping land for cattle and ecotourism versus selling land to a large agribusiness. They consider which economic choices help ranchers make the most money from their land in both the short and long term.
Students look at different ways to protect coastlines. They compare the cost of implementing a coastal protection method. Students examine the trade-off between stronger but more expensive construction materials compared with the less robust but cheaper oyster reefs.
Test a simple interactive population model to estimate sustainable salmon harvest. Simulate variation in nutrient input by comparing growth of plants with different concentrations of fish-based fertilizer control.