Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Preview of Teacher Presentations

Schoolyard Ecology Spring Workshop for Teachers


Introducing our Newest Project: Our Changing Forests

Challenges and Successes in Piloting the Our Changing Forests Project

Wayne Kermenski, from Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Shelburne Falls, will explain the new project/protocol, how he sent it up in the classroom, challenges/successes, and how he uses the research in his class.

Integrating Our Changing Forests project into H.S. Ecology Curriculum

Nicholas Kostich, from Oakmont H.S. in Ashburnham-Westminster, will share binder resources he developed, and his thoughts on long term data use within the school, as well as overall  project integration into his Ecology class' curriculum.



Vernal Pool Presentation:

 Transitioning a 12 Year Investigation of a Vernal Pool into the Era of Next Generation Science Standards.

Judy Gibson,  from the Francis Parker Charter Essential School in Devens will show what can be accomplished in 12 years of leading a vernal pool project with  Middle Schoolers.  Judy will share her 6 week vernal pool unit that she has lead every two years in the spring for the past 12 years, which focuses on making observations and inferences of the pool and animals that live in it. She  will bring samples of students work and the assessment and some of logistics of how to cycle 150 students through multiple field trips to the pool.  She will discuss how she has run an after school group collecting data for the schoolyard project in the last 5 years. She will show photos and explain how this has worked. She will share some of the thinking the she and her colleagues are doing about the dilemma this year in how to adapt her unit to tie more closely to the NGSS and to start to make use of the data they have accumulated whilst still recognizing the strengths of the old unit, which has historically been one of the most popular units by students and teachers alike.


Buds, Leaves and Global Warming Presentations: 

Buds and Leaves and Real Students; Wisdom Gained and Shared

JoAnn Mossman, Overlook Middle School teacher in Ashburnham, has gained a lot of wisdom over 6 years of leading the Buds study with her Middle Schoolers. She has offered to share it with you! Here is some of what you can expect from her: Lessons to do with the students to get them thinking about “fall,” why leaves change color and why trees lose their leaves; an article assignment, outdoor and indoor protocol practice; rubrics to go along with the different activities. This presentation is well suited for teachers who are new to the Buds protocol. It will help them get their students ready to go for the fall observations.

Tree group presentations … The Story of Our Tree

Louise Levy, in her 7th year of leading the Buds study at Belchertown High School will show you how she has engaged her students in communicating scientific results as part of their   There’s nothing quite like a presentation in front of the class to get high schoolers to check the quality of their work!  Louise will share the activity, the discussion, questions and worksheets that scaffold the activity for the students, and some of the work the students have done in the past.  The overarching goal is to invite the students in to the community of BLG contributors, both at BHS and the wider BLG community … to give them a sense of how their efforts fit into the project as a whole and the legacy they leave behind for next years’ students.

Exploring the Database

Jane Lucia from the Williston School will share a classroom activity she developed to help students discover the benefits of long term studies and a large database.  This activity is designed to encourage students to explore some of the cool features of the HF Schoolyard LTER resources, following  data submission.



Woolly Bully; Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Presentation:

Comparing Hemlock and Deciduous Forests; Show us the Data!

Karen Murphy, Amherst Regional HS – South East Campus, teacher
will present her lesson plan for a plot study in which her students compared the ecology of a hemlock vs. a deciduous forest. The purpose was to use the scientific method to answer the question: "How will New England forests change if hemlock forests are lost to the hemlock wooly adelgid?" Karen will discuss her methods for data collection used for spider and insect abundance, understory plant abundance, soil temperature, pH, nitrogen and phosphorus levels.  She will also share journal articles used to provide background information, and describe  how her students used Excel to graph the data, and write lab reports to report their findings.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome to the brand new HF Schoolyard Ecology Blog

We are trying out this blog as a way to communicate more fully to teachers and students and anyone interested in our field ecology projects.  If you are not familiar with our program, we strongly encourage you to check out our website at:
to find detailed information about each of our Schoolyard projects, including project introductions, protocols, data sheets, lesson plans and our online database.

Here on the blog, we intend to post more updated information about upcoming and recent events,  new publications and resources of note, news about teachers and students participating in our projects, and especially, PHOTOS and audio visual resources. I encourage teachers and students to send me updates and photos for posting on this blog to: