Monday, April 24, 2017

What Amazing Teachers Will Do! 17 Teachers Recognized for Long Term Leadership of Schoolyard Ecology Projects

Can you believe that 18 teachers have dedicated 5 or more years to leading HF LTER Schoolyard Ecology projects for children in grades K-12?

This on top of an ever changing and super challenging educational environment is truly something to celebrate.  I am so honored to work with such dedicated teachers who year after year go above and beyond what is required and do the work they believe will make a difference to both their students and our planet.   Please honor their work by taking a moment to see some highlights of the contributions they have made to the Schoolyard Ecology program and beyond.

Photos of Teachers who have dedicated 10 + years are shown here: 

The Post Retirement Team- Chuck Skillings has led  young children at the Davis Hill Elementary School  in collecting project data for the Buds, Leaves and Global Warming project for 10 years now. He and Project Ecologist, John O'Keefe are both participating in the project in their retirement.
J.R. Briggs Elementary Teacher Kate Bennett has contributed to our Schoolyard program for the longest of any teacher so far.  12 years of full on dedication, leading 2 projects, serving as a  HF mentor teachers: and as a  Research Experience for Teachers (RET) during summers; developing a series of lessons for using Phenocam in K-12 curriculum; presenting at National conferences in California, Colorado and Boston. Kate has been awarded numerous environmental education awards at the local, state and regional levels. Kate is pictuired here with Woolly Bully and the Hemlock Trees Project Ecologist David Orwig to the left.  

Austin Preparatory Teacher, Maria Blewitt has not only led students in contributing to the Buds, Leaves and Global Warming project for 10 years.  She has also served as mentor teacher and presented at our Spring Workshops on multiple occasions. Maria has contributed to HF Schoolyard Teacher surveys as well as surveys of  Undergraduates to learn what K-12 experiences were meaningful in leading them to pursue Science in college.  Maria has been honored for Excellence in  Environmental Education  at the Mass. State House

Please take the time to use the  link to slides to see Photos AND some of the contributions of all of the 11 teachers recognized the Spring Workshop.


 Schoolyard/Teacher Recognition Ceremony Presentation.pdf

Links to News Articles: 

Skillings-  The Landmark

Anderson, Levy,

Levy, Anderson-  The Sentinal

Farrow-Wicked Local Lincoln

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring=New Life; Schoolyard Ecology Spring Workshop Photos, etc.

Lightning Round 
 Local Land Use Maps 
 Teacher Recognition Ceremony

New Life for Schoolyard Program    

Teachers work with site specific land
Use Maps 

Harvard Forest Research Assistant (GIS) Joshua Plisinski from the  Landscape Scenarios team at Harvard Forest introduced map books (series of related automated maps)  of  specific areas and towns  around schools/field sites  participating in the Changing Forests project. This brand new effort, funded by Highstead Foundation, provides a conceptual bridge for students (and teachers) between what they experience and learn through their small plot study onto a broader scale- a 1 square mile area around their sites as well the entire town in which they live.  The goal here is for students to gain an understanding of  how the wider landscape is changing over time.  

Harvard Forest Site Manager and Senior Ecologist, Audrey Barker-Plotkin shows teachers how the  pastures and forests are revealing stories of past and present land use change.

Photo by Jenny Hobson
Teachers who Dedicated 5-12 Years of HF Schoolyard Ecology Project leadership at their sites were honored at a Teacher Recognition Ceremony during the Spring Workshop. 

Front row from left:  Maria Blewitt, Austin Preparatory School; JoAnn Mossman, Overlook Middle School; Robin Gurdak-Foley-Helen E. James Elementary School; Louise Levy, Belchertown High School; Jane Lucia, Williston Northampton School ; Sally Farrow, Drumlin Farm- Mass. Audubon 

Middle row:  Katherine Bennett, J.R. Briggs Elementary School; Melanie McCracken, Groton-Dunstable High School; John O'Keefe, H.F. Project Ecologist.

Back row:  Clarisse Hart, H.F. Director of Education and Outreach; David Orwig, H.F. Project Ecologist; Pamela Snow, H.F. Schoolyard Ecology Coordinator; Charles Skillings, Davis Hill Elementary School; Nora Murphy, Concord-Carlisle High School; Aaron Ellison, H.F. R.E.T. Mentor/Ecologist; Emery Boose, H.F. Information Manager; Karen Anderson, The MacDuffie School.  

Glen Urquart School Teacher, Emilie Cushing and Austin Prep. Teacher, Maria Blewitt Co-presented about incorporating citizen science in the K-12 setting.

 Overlook Middle School Teacher, JoAnn Mossman shared 8 Years of wisdom in leading an Schoolyard Ecology project at her school. 

Left: Project Ecologist, John O'Keefe, led Buds, Leaves and Global Warming Teachers on a field walk to help prepare for spring leaf out observations. 

Right:  Woolly Bully teachers led by Project Ecologist, David Orwig, witnessed the changes happening to Hemlock trees in the forest. Long Trail School teacher, Amy Newbold is pictured next to the Eddy Flux Tower which monitors exchanges between the hemlock dominated tree canopy and the atmosphere.

Explore More :

Coming Soon:

  • Teacher Recognition Ceremony Slides