Monday, March 31, 2014

Harvard Forest  Schoolyard Ecology Spring Teacher Workshop

Thursday, April 3, 2014

8:45 a.m.         Registration: PDP and Laptop registration

9:00 a.m.         Welcome Circle: Brief update on status of each participant’s study

9:40 a.m.         Field Walk: Break up into protocol groups with project Ecologists: John O’Keefe, David Orwig, Betsy Colburn, Ed Faison and David Foster. Walks will relate to spring project cycle/ field issues.  

Protocol Group Name
Project Ecologists
Our Changing Forests
David Foster, Edward Faison
Woolly Bully; Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
David Orwig
Vernal Pools
Betsy Colburn
Buds, Leaves and Global Warming
John O’Keefe

12:00 p.m.  Lunch- Dining Area or outside (weather dependent) 

12:30 p.m.                              Teacher Presentations

12:30 p.m.
Challenges and Successes in Piloting the Our Changing Forests Project                             
Wayne Kermenski, Mohawk Trail Regional High School
Fisher Museum
12:50 p.m.
Integrating Our Changing Forests project into H.S. Ecology Curriculum
Nicholas Kostich, Oakmont High School
Fisher Museum
Concurrent Sessions Begin. Please attend the session that best fits your educational objectives. Note the location.
(concurrent session)
Tree group presentations … The Story of Our Tree  (Buds & Leaves)
Louise Levy, Belchertown High School
Fisher Museum
1:10 p.m.
(concurrent session)
Transitioning a 12 Year Investigation of a Vernal Pool into the Era of Next Generation Science Standards
Judy Gibson, Francis Parker Charter School
Seminar Room
1:30 p.m.
(concurrent session)
Exploring the Database (Buds & Leaves)
Jane Lucia from the Williston School
Fisher Museum
1:30 p.m.
(concurrent session)
Comparing Hemlock and Deciduous Forests; Show us the Data! (Woolly Bully: Hemlock)
Karen Murphy, Amherst Regional H.S., S.E. Campus
Seminar Room
1:50 p.m.
Buds and Leaves and Real Students; Wisdom Gained and Shared                                         
JoAnn Mossman, Overlook M. S.
Fisher Museum

2:10pm           Wrap Up: Tie up loose ends from the day and discuss next steps for projects.

2:30p.m.         Evaluation: We highly value your input on what worked and what didn’t this year in order for us to plan an even more successful project year next year. We ask that you bring a laptop computer in order to complete the online survey.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Lincoln-Sudbury High School students collecting data at the Poultry Pond at Drumlin Farm

Photo by Sally Farrow

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Changing Forests Teacher Book Review:

 Forests in Time

edited by David Foster and John Aber
I've been reading the Foster/Aber book, Forests in Time.  It's a great overview of much of the LTER work that's been done at HF over the years and attempts to explain how the New England landscape has been impacted by human activity as well as climate and weather-related events such as hurricanes from pre-colonial times to the present. It explains how both flora and fauna have changed over this period and also measures how forests have responded or affected the changes in flux of hydrology, CO2, Nitrogen and other atmospheric gases based on soil factors, climate change as well as anthropogenic factors.  There's a heck of a lot of very good data and info, but I think teachers and students would probably find how animal populations were effected by human impacts as there is good info and data on that particular chapter.

Bill Van Valkenburg, Gardner High School Teacher
Our Changing Forests Teacher
Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming Teacher
Research Experience for Teachers (RET), Stinson Lab-Ragweed Project

Monday, March 17, 2014

'The Wood frogs are coming; The Salamanders are coming.....'

This citizen-science project tracking the timing of spring amphibian migration, led by The Orianne Society, may be of interest to your class:>

Another interesting "amphibian migration tracking" project that is super-easy to contribute to:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Abode Eco Monitoring Team at Ice  Pond, Drumlin Farm

Photo by Sally Farrow

Williston School students checking on Buds in March

Photo by Jane Lucia

20th Annual Secretary's Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education

This annual award program aims to recognize schools and teachers (K-12 ) across the Commonwealth for their outstanding efforts in furthering energy and environmental education initiatives at their schools.

Application Deadline
March 28, 2014

To Apply
Complete the
online form.

For more information and examples of previous winners, visit the
awards website.

Late Sap Flow-Maple Syrup Phenology

According to Harvard Forest researcher, Joshua Rapp, Maple "sap is flowing, but we are way behind this time the last couple of years at this point. This figure shows just how slow the things are going this year."  See his figures below:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teacher Resource:  Weather Underground Climate Change Blog

Here is a really interesting climate change resource that Dr. O'Keefe told me about. I think your students would really find it engaging- hook them in with great graphics tied to very updated climate information. Great practice analyzing data graphs, maps, etc.   Dr. Jeff Master's blog is connected to  the Weather Underground website. Right now he is featuring an article about the famous Keeling curve study related to CO 2 in the atmosphere: having its funding cut...check it out at :

Friday, March 7, 2014

NSTA 2014 Boston Conference


Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology will be in the house!

Creating Student Video for Climate Education

Friday, April 4 9:30–10:30 AM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 251

Students use the NGSS and combine climate science, systems thinking, and science communications skills through media production. Using the Climate Education in an Age of Media (CAM) project at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Harvard Forest LTER Schoolyard Program, Buds, Leaves & Global Warming, students learn to collect data on important long-term ecological issues and processes. They report what they have learned through media.

Presenter(s): Donna Cochrane (North Attleboro High School: North Attleboro, MA) 
GRADE LEVEL: High School

Being Scientists: Involving Fifth-Graders in Real Science

Saturday, April 5 2:00–3:00 PM

The Westin Boston Waterfront, Alcott

Elementary teacher Kate Bennett has been involving her grades 5–6 students in authentic field research for the past seven years in collaboration with Harvard Forest, an ecological research center affiliated with Harvard University. Join us as we share very accessible resources and stories about making science come to life in the classroom.

Presenter(s): Pamela Snow (Harvard Forest: Petersham, MA); Kate Bennett (John R. Briggs Elementary School: Ashburnham, MA)      

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary-High School