FOREST (Florida Organization on Religion, Environmental Science and Technology)
University of Florida, Religion Department
FOREST is an organization of interdisciplinary scholars in religion, botany, ecology, history of science, ecological anthropology, ethics, and political science, doctoral students in the Religion and Nature program, secondary school educators, and community members devoted to facilitating research, debate, and the dissemination of diverse perspectives at the intersection of religion, science, technology, and ethics. The group first priority is to educate members of the academic community through collaborative consultation and a “Lunch and Lecture” series for to build membership on campus. The series examines topics such as cosmology, biotechnology and medical ethics, environmental science and nature religion, social science, and the “new science.” The next phase of activity includes community outreach through developing relationships with area secondary school educators and community groups to expand critical thinking in relevant areas of science and faith. In addition to public events, programs also include the development of a widely distributed newsletter, a website, video/DVD resources, and curricular materials for use by other groups interested in becoming part of the growing global dialogue in science and faith. Future plans include development of a Summer Institute for secondary school teachers, reading groups to encourage collaborative work across the campus, a major national conference, and the development of a sub-network of collaborative effort focused on issues in religion, science, and ecology within the larger LSI network. Additionally, the planning team of FOREST envisions the development of “workshop teams,” available to bring religion and science discussion to diverse venues throughout the region, as identified through outreach work. Matching funds are provided by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Department of Religion of the University of Florida.