Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador Program

“You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”
– E.O. Wilson

Transformative moments of discovery that guide our lives in a new direction are rare, and often happen when we are young and open to them.

Educators hold the power to inspire young minds and transform the future. That’s why Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassadors are so important.

The Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador program provides a platform for teachers to engage each other and their students in the grand ambition of Half-Earth, and to inspire and connect students with the natural world.

As part of the Educator Ambassador peer network, community members will have access to a rich set of educational resources, from compelling videos, to cutting-edge digital textbook content, to a state-of-the-art, data-rich interactive tool for mapping Earth’s biodiversity at high-resolution, and of course Ed Wilson’s own writings.

The Half-Earth Project has science at its core and our moral obligation to the rest of life at its heart. We’re working to bottle the inspiration and create the tools to get everyone to Half-Earth.  With the grand ambition of Half-Earth as a moonshot, we’re counting on Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassadors to lead the way, guiding their students to be our next generation stewards.

Join the Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador peer network.

Educator Institutes & Ambassadors


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Half-Earth Day 2019: Education & Citizen Science

Beginning with the “Half-Earth Educator Ambassador Institute” 2-hour workshop, Half-Earth: Pathways to a Half-Earth Future, featured several opportunities for attendees interested in education and citizen science to engage with experts. In addition to the Institute, the day featured “Engaging Next Generation Stewards,” a panel discussion addressing aspects of citizen science, experiential learning and other opportunities that kindle the passion for environmental stewardship and citizen action. Later, the “Environmental Literacy and Envisioning Half-Earth in Schools and Communities” panel discussed how understanding key environmental principles and concepts are the foundation to building consensus and taking action.

Ambassadors in Action

Transformative moments

“My week in Vermont and the effort the Vermont Friends of the Half-Earth Project put into organizing it felt like the Half-Earth Project in a microcosm. Vermonters are going through a process of getting organized to take action. They are a case study of how to rally and organize people, facilitate specific activities, and make use of our science and fact-based approach.”

Ambassadors in Action

Sandra Fary, Middle School Science Teacher

“Several 8th graders have made it their mission to conserve half of their family’s property, whether it be less than an acre or for ‘the back forty.’  Their awareness about conservation and preservation of biodiversity has been greatly heightened due to the Half-Earth mission.”

Saving Biodiversity

From Ants to Grizzlies

A General Rule for Saving Biodiversity

How can we protect the wildlife and the wild places that remain? One of the foundations of conservation now being applied across the world began with the dreams of a young boy in Mobile, Alabama, and of all things, his love for ants.

Ambassadors in Action

Global Trends in Biodiversity Spring Break Institute

“I’m a proud Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador. I’ve used the Half-Earth Map and curriculum in my 10th-grade lab class, and the students are incredibly engaged. It’s one of those times where all I had to do was watch them work. They were totally engaged.”– Selim Tlili, a high school science teacher at the Rudolph Steiner School

Education Resources

Corrie Moreau: Audacious E.O. Wilson Student

Meet Corrie Moreau, Ant Biologist and E.O. Wilson Student. Dr. Moreau is now Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University and Director of the Insect Collection. Corrie had previously worked at the Field Museum in Chicago in the Department of Science and Education. Here, she talks about being encouraged and inspired by Ed, both in her research and in her education and science communication adventures.

The Diversity of Ants

Corrie introduces us to the amazing diversity of ants, and their fascinating variety of behavior and life styles. She’s studied ants across the world, from the her favorite group called the Turtle Ants for the shape and way they use their exoskeletons (cuticle) to the infamous bullet ant, so named for having one of the most painful bites known to myrmecologists (ant experts).

Educational Ants

Corrie discusses how engaging ants are for science education, and introduces us to a variety of resources and classroom materials that impress upon students the diversity of ants. Learn about AntWiki, which gathers ant research data in a way that students can find interesting. Corrie focuses on the Florida Keys, a hotspot of ant diversity both native and invasive species.

Letters to a Young Scientist, Chapter 13: A Celebration of Audacity

In Chapter 13 of his popular book encouraging students to pursue science,  E.O. Wilson tells the story of a gutsy young researcher, Corrie Moreau, who won’t give up on an idea she has to make a big advance in the study of our planet’s biodiversity.

Excerpted from Letters to A Young Scientist. Copyright (c) 2013 by Edward O. Wilson. Used with permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of  W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Romance of Ants

This comic book illustrates how despite growing up in the city, a childhood fascination with insects grew into a career dedicated to understanding how life on our planet works and the particular natural history and role of ants.






More from the Ants of the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are rich in native ant species, but also a portal for invading exotic ants that didn’t evolve there. Corrie has made a study of the diversity of these ants and shares this beautiful poster and a teacher guide focused on ants as a springboard into important evolution and ecology questions. 

Additional educational resources available in this resource guide here.

Mapping Design Challenge

Here’s everything you need to do this hands-on mapping design challenge. Your students will work in teams to answer the challenge of putting half of the United States into protection for biodiversity, grapple with evidence, and become motivated to learn more about conserving biodiversity.

Nature’s Best Hope

In his latest book, “Nature’s Best Hope,” released in February 2020, Doug Tallamy expands previous arguments explaining how private land-owners can be at the forefront of biodiversity conservation while also making their property more beautiful. Doug and Timber Press have given us permission to present Chapter One of “Nature’s Best Hope,” titled “The Dreamers.” This opening chapter is about Aldo Leopold and E.O. Wilson and why they are such important inspirational figures in the world of conservation. The chapter and a list of questions for classroom discussion based on the reading are supplied here.

Short conversation at left. Full video available here (24:00).

Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life is a virtual home for every species on Earth. Katja Schulz, biologist and data scientists with EOL, gives us a tour of the dynamic new food-web tool, which puts your species of interest at the center of a web of predators, prey, and competitors. We encourage you to try it out for yourself and use it as a teaching tool in your classrooms. View full video.

Explore Trophic Webs

Hand’s on is the best way to learn. Explore these trophic webs and travel around this fantastic educational tool. Instructions on how to use the tool are also provided here.


EOL Educational Resources

Marie Studer longtime lead educator for the Encyclopedia of Life introduces podcasts, biodiversity cards, and other educational resources from EOL.

E.O. Wilson and Ants, Formicidae

Evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has spent his long career cracking the code of ants. It’s the ants’ ability to communicate and form tight-knit societies that lies behind their extraordinary evolutionary success. Transcript (pdf)

Insects of Costa Rica, Insecta

We travel to Costa Rica with Marie Studer and her family to experience firsthand the astonishing variety of insect life in this tiny Central American nation—20,000 different kinds of butterflies and moths alone! Transcript (pdf)

What do ants really like to eat?

Explore topics of diet, food types, food quality, and ant diversity with your students in an amazing citizen science project.

Galapagos Islands: A Case for Half-Earth 

How do people who live in the  Galapagos view the biodiversity protections they live with? Get an amazing on-the-ground account from two Half-Earth Ambassadors, in this 19 minute video.

Teaching Inside and Out

Erika Mitkus and Jonathan Bower are Knowles Fellows and Half-Earth Educator Ambassadors bringing real-world science to their students in this 5 minute video.

Marine Iguana: Reptile Behavior

Galapagos Marine Iguanas are famous for being the only lizards who swim in the ocean. Learn about their part in a fascinating 3-species relationship in this podcast.


Lizards That Swim and Birds That Don’t Fly

These articles, written from the diverse perspectives of Cornell undergraduates, explore some of the amazing species of the Galapagos. They feature unique insights and great reference lists.

Life on Earth iBook Textbook

Inspired and led by E.O. Wilson, and created with a team of world-renowned educators and artists, this comprehensive and original standards-based curriculum tells the story of life on Earth, giving students a deep understanding of introductory biology.

This captivating and free iBooks textbook, presented as a seven-unit collection, extends students’ learning in and out of the classroom with reading and writing assignments and extension activities like field observation and moviemaking. Designed to prepare tomorrow’s scientists and environmental leaders, this curriculum inspires students to take responsibility for conserving and protecting nature’s biological treasures.


The Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador program holds workshops and institutes training educators to apply Half-Earth lessons in their classrooms.

may, 2020