Educating the public and the campus community about the importance of our environment and creating research opportunities at Missouri State is valuable to Dr. Janice Greene.
“I try to instill that love of biology in a wide variety of groups. As far as research goes, I kind of get to pick my emphasis and pick things that interest me, so having that flexibility makes it more exciting.”
Greene is the director of the Bull Shoals Lake Field Station. The field station hosts several workshops for teachers, students and the public each year. The station is equipped with living quarters and students and professors from Missouri State and all over Missouri are conducting research at all times.
“This is a unique area of the country and the field station has many unique aspects including the water resources and the species that live here,” said Greene. “The idea behind the field station is to get people out there to do research, so we understand changes in the environment and we can monitor long term changes.”
Greene adds that once people understand what is in the environment, they are more likely to appreciate it. One way Greene passes on that appreciation is by advising teachers continuing their education. Many of her advisees also enjoy the flexibility of a program like the Master of Natural and Applied Science at Missouri State.
“Teachers can gain a lot more knowledge about different areas. Instead of just biology or chemistry, they get both of them,” said Greene. “It allows them to beef up their own knowledge and take that back to the classroom to see how it all works together.”
“The program isn’t for everybody, but for those students who need that breadth versus more than just a single field, it’s a great option to look at courses in other fields as well as integrate that into the research,” said Greene.
Greene also helps students in the program who are looking for courses to provide them with a little extra knowledge in one area.
“I help a lot of students who are not my advisees in finding that appropriate coursework and providing that other perspective.” Greene’s background allows her to provide a new angle that may not have been considered before.
Greene’s own research interests include educating the public about natural resources, evaluating programs that focus on the environment, hosting a summer workshop for high school students in collaboration with the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, and beginning a bird banding station at the field station.
Creating a link between the campus and the community is something Greene finds important in environmental education.
“The University is an isolated part-time place for most people, but the community is where they are going. They have to understand what they learn is associated with the real world and the community they will be living in later,” added Greene.
Greene is serving on or involved with many committees and organizations dedicated to environmental issues. She is currently the president of the James River Basin Partnership board, member of the Tree City USA Citizens Advisory Committee and member of the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) planning committee and member of the Missouri State University sustainability committee.
Educating students at all levels about the importance of the environment is something Greene feels will lead to a more sustainable future.
“There has been a lot of research to show that when students are actively involved in education, whether just in a lab setting in their class or out in the world, they are much more likely to remember those things,” said Greene. “The important thing is they have to be exposed to it, but they also have to experience it and find out that when working on environmental issues, whether it is water quality, sustainability or wildlife, the little steps add up.”