Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Thanks to our Mentor Teachers and Project Scientists

27 Teachers participated in the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology Summer Institute for Teachers in August. Twenty of those are beginning Schoolyard projects for the first time.   Four of our experienced teachers served as official Mentor Teachers to support new teachers along with our 3 project Scientists, and 2 Harvard Forest education staff.
Photos by Clarisse Hart

Project Ecologist David Orwig and Mentor Teacher, Kate Bennett, introducing new Schoolyard Teachers to the Woolly Bully project

Teachers from the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid group said this about what they gained from the Summer Institute: 

  • My students will be excited to participate and be responsible for a real-life scientific project (at least I hope they will be!) :) I learned a lot more about the HWA than I previously knew, and I am excited also about helping to contribute to the body of knowledge to control the pest.

  • I'm in the woolly bully group and I really enjoyed the presentation on how to do the field study. I thought it was very helpful and David was very thorough in his explanation. I feel more confidant executing this project.
  • Learning about the life cycle of the HWA, and how to identify at various life stages. How to read the forest and generally assess forest health/presence of HWA. (In response to question about the most valuable aspect of Summer Inst.)  

Project Ecologist, John O'Keefe and Mentor Teacher, Maria Blewitt showing new Schoolyard teachers how to identify trees for the Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming project.

Mentor Teacher, Lise Letellier and John O'Keefe help teachers practice labelling trees for Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming study

Teachers from the Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming group said this about what they gained from the Summer Institute: 

  • Specific modeling of how to flag branches, how to use database and graphing
  • Identifying the leaves and learning how to mark the trees so students can successfully begin collecting data.
  • Lise (mentor teacher) was great. Having the experienced teachers talking about their experience implementing the project was super helpful.

Research Forester, Emily Silver, teaches how to lay out a plot
for the Our Changing Forests project. (left)

Mentor Teacher, Melanie McCracken, helps teachers practice laying out a plot. (below)

Teachers from the Changing Forests group said this about what they gained from Summer Institute: 

  • Confidence in taking a more rigorous approach to field data collection (tree ID not just DBH measurements, site orientation); sense of connection to & importance in larger project.
  • How to begin the process of choosing the plots that my students will use for this study. THe materials that have been supplied are very valuable as well.
  • very helpful, and not overwhelming. Seems very doable in my class
  • It was very helpful having the mentor teacher (Melanie McCracken) in the field with us, giving us suggestions for what worked with her class.

 Data Manager, Emery Boose, previews the Online Database

Teachers said this about what they gained from the Data presentation:

  • Great ideas, and a great support system to implement this project right away in the classroom. I am especially excited about the graphing capabilities of the database and the tremendous resources available on the website.
  • The value of long term data collection (in response to what was most valuable aspect of the Summer Institute)

What is the most valuable thing you will take away from today's workshop?

  • Confidence that I can translate the protocol to success for my students
  • That this is very doable in my curriculum and does not require an immense amount of background. I did expect it to be more overwhelming. Now, I'm just excited!
  • Dedicated time to learn from others about how to setup and implement this study on our field site and in the classroom
  • Knowing how to do the set up will be very valuable!
  • Project is achievable without the necessity of lots of forestry experience. There are also many people who can support my efforts as I move through the project.
  • A new science project students in our schoolyard habitat program can participate in as citizen scientists.
  • Fits nicely with AP Environmental Science
  • Fantastic program!!!

      • Thanks All!