Thursday, October 29, 2015

Show us your fall colors!

What are the trees in your neck of the Woods looking like today? Let's take a look at Fall color changing in New England this season

Red Maple in mid October at Harvard Forest

Leaf Color Change From New York to New Hampshire

The Phenocam Network offers us a way of leaf peeping over time and across vast geographical ranges.  

I have put together some images from across the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology region to show you how foliage color varied between September 28th and Oct. 30th, which was when most of the color change occurred in these sites. 

From the Southwestern end of our Region:  

From the Southeast:  

From the Northeast: 

From North Central Massachusetts:

A Bit Further North Central: 

Northern-most View at High Elevation: 

Where does your site fit into this?  Show us your color!  If you have taken any photos of your field site this fall, please email me your photo with the date taken so I can post it here.

Thanks to Maryanne Rotelli from Hollis-Brookline High School for sending these 2 photos:

 Study Branch, 10-06-15

Hollis-Brookline High School Field Site in Southern New Hampshire 10-26-15

More about Fall Foliage:

  • News Article: Dry summer delays peak foliage as trees prep from winter.  Oct. 2015 article from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette including quotes from Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecologist, John O'Keefe: http://www.telegram article-fall foliage

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Looking at Data Workshop Preview

What to expect in this year’s Working with Data Workshop at Harvard Forest:

How will the day be structured? One workshop will support Schoolyard Ecology teachers with beginning through advanced data management, graphing, and/or analysis skills.  We will convene as one group, spend much of the day in break out groups by skill level (self-determined by teachers) and reconvene at the end of the session  to see advanced teachers share graphs and other products they developed in the session. 

Outcomes: Educators will have materials and knowledge necessary to manage and graph project data.   Educators will have materials to support students in better understanding what the data are revealing about study themes.  Specific outcomes will vary depending on the experience level  and goals of each participant.

When is it?  Thursday, December 3, 2015

Times:   9:00a.m. -3:00p.m.

Who is Invited?     This workshop is intended for teachers who are currently participating in a Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology project.  We often accept requests from collaborating non-profit or governmental agencies to attend.

What Level are you?  Teachers will self-assess what levels they would like to work at.  Some guidelines are:

  •    Level 1:   First year Schoolyard teachers who would like to learn how to manage the project data their students began collecting this fall. Information  Manager Emery Boose will provide an overview of Schoolyard Ecology data management and introduce teachers to the online data base.  Teachers will have time to practice inputting this fall’s data on the database, and try graphing data using online graphing tools. Most level 1 teachers will have successfully entered some or all fall project data onto the Harvard Forest database, and go home with a graph created using the online database. 
  •    Level 2:   Teachers will work on structured schoolyard datasets to practice specific graphing skills using Excel. It is possible for teachers to choose to execute the same style graph by hand instead of on Excel if preferred.  While most level 2 teachers will have 1 or more years of schoolyard experience behind them, It is possible for first year schoolyard teachers to begin with level 2 this year as long as they input some fall data prior to confirmation of registration for this workshop. Most level 2 teachers will go home with some graphs of data from other field sites, and the understanding of how to create the same types of graphs using their own data.  Some teachers will have time to begin graphs of their own data.
  • Level 3:   Teachers will work on individual graphing goals with Harvard Forest mentors. Most Level 3 folks will have attended a data level 2 workshop previously. We ask that all level 3 teachers complete the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology graphing exercises prior to this workshop on your own if you haven't participated at level 2 previously.  Graphing in level 3 can be done using Excel or by hand.  Most level 3 teachers will go home with a graph and/or organized data table to work with in the classroom.

PDPs:  Earn 6 PDPs for a 6 hour workshop

Lead Presenter:

Support Staff:

What does this look like?  

See below for a sense of the graphs Level 2 teachers will learn to create.

Go to our Data Workshop Slide Show about Looking at Data Workshop to see sample tables and graphs and photos from past level 3 sessions.

100% of teacher participants  rated the value of  the time spent working directly on graphing at  this workshop towards their teaching goals as "very useful". 
Teachers said:
  • I was able to produce items that I need to use in the near future and that set the stage for the upcoming season
  • A good use of time that allowed me to get together with other teachers and professionals who are doing the same thing. It's a great time to practice some rusty skills and to bounce ideas off of each other as far as practice and procedures.
  • Learning more and more about excel and the types of data to use and how to use it and even questions to ask the data to answer
  • (Gained) proficiency (in graphing schoolyard data), to the point of being confident that I can translate my skills into clear instructions for my students
More teacher responses on our blog post from last year’s advanced data workshop complete with quotes and graphs of teacher survey responses at: Data Workshop Blog 2014

I hope this helps clarify what the Working with Data Workshop will be like this year. Feel free to respond with any specific questions you may have.

If you want to join us, please  email Pamela at with the following info:

1.       Your name
2.       Your school
3.       Your Schoolyard project name
4.       What level you would like to participate at (1,2,or 3)
5.       Your individual goal for the workshop