Friday, November 21, 2014


Athol High School Teacher, Sharon McDonald, has partnered with Americorps Volunteers at Mount Grace Land Trust to investigate multiple 10x10 meter plots as part of Harvard Forest LTER's "Our Changing Forests" project.  Sharon had her students " making observations of interesting pictures to take and describe inside the plot, measuring dbh (several pix) and trying to figure out the tree species.   The non-woody plants are pretty extensive too, so each student will be assigned either a tree or woodland plant to investigate and do a research poster on."  Athol students are researching plots at their schoolyard as well as the Skyfields Arboretum.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Views from the Field

Autumn 2014

Our Changing Forests Schoolyard Field Research- F.W. Parker Charter School, Devens, Ma. 
Measuring Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) of dead Tree 

Measuring DBH of live standing tree

Using DBH stick to indicate the correct height at which to measure DBH with diameter tape
Students at F.W. Parker Charter School began their first season of the Our Changing Forests project led by their teachers, Judy Gibson and Mitt Wanzer.   Judy Gibson, joined the schoolyard program years ago when she started bringing students outside to measure water depths, circumference, and temperature data as part of the Water in the Landscape: Vernal Pool study led by ecologist, Betsy Colburn. This year, Mitt Wanzer joined Judy Gibson in beginning a new study identifying, labelling and measuring diameters of trees within a 10 x 10 meter plot in their schoolyard.  Students record data for both projects onto paper data sheets they bring with them into the field on their clipboards. Teachers report that data to Harvard Forest on an online database.  Parker school data for this season has not yet been reported, but you can find other datasets from throughout Massachusetts for both studies at:  http://harvardforestonlinedatabase.

What does your Schoolyard field site look like?  

Send photos with permission to post on our blog and/or webpages to Pamela Snow, Schoolyard Coordinator at: