You are here

Harvard Forest >

Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2018

  • Title: Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology Coordinator
  • Primary Author: Pamela Snow (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: Clarisse Hart (Harvard Forest)
  • Abstract:

    Lead investigators: Hart, Snow, Foster, Thompson, Boose, Orwig, Colburn, O’Keefe

    The HFR K-12 Schoolyard LTER program (sLTER) currently engages >3,500 students in >50 schools in hands-on data collection and analysis through 4 coI-generated research protocols linked to HFR GCDs (climate & phenology, invasive insects, forest carbon & land-use change, vernal pools & hydrology). In LTER VI, we will continue to deepen connections between classroom data projects and the research of sLTER mentor scientists (O’Keefe, Orwig, Thompson, Colburn). Two central activities will be 1) broadening the scope of the newest forest dynamics data project , Our Changing Forests , to include analysis of future carbon sequestration potential and projected land-use change in towns surrounding each participating school, and 2) building and integrating new phenology curricula to augment the Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming protocol, leveraged in part by an NSF Macrosystems grant (Richardson).
    Foundational to our sLTER are 3 annual professional development workshops for teachers, led by mentor scientists to 1) provide training and context for the 4 field data protocols, 2) guide analysis/graphing of classroom data, and 3) create a platform for peer-to-peer mentorship and curriculum-sharing by experienced teachers (20 sLTER teachers have collected >5 years of data). A hallmark of LTER VI sLTER will be the annual data workshop led by HFR IM Boose, which combines 3 formerly separate workshops to address differing levels of teacher familiarity with our custom sLTER database and graphing system . In concurrent sessions, new teachers are taught to enter and organize their classroom data online, while more advanced teachers, with one-on-one mentorship by HFR coIs and graduate students, work toward self-determined graphing objectives (e.g. cross-site comparisons). The sLTER database is publicly available and constantly evolving; in LTER VI, one goal is to build additional capacity into the database for instant comparison/graphing of cross-site data. Another goal, following a 2015 mid-term site review suggestion, is to work with HFR graduate students and sLTER mentor coIs to continue synthesizing existing sLTER classroom data (see a pilot effort on the sLTER blog ), to the extent that such synthesis is scientifically appropriate (using only complete and correct classroom datasets) and provides a meaningful platform for classrooms to compare their own datasets to regional trends.
    Additional LTER VI goals for our K-12 and sLTER programs include:

    (1) Advancing network-wide K-12 data literacy initiatives led by the LTER Education Committee, through, for example, the contribution of at least one site-based ‘data nugget ’ from a signature HFR dataset. Currently LTER Graduate Student Fiona Jevon is developing a data nugget activity from HFR Eddy Flux Data from Bill Munger's studies. This activity will be piloted with teachers at the next HF Teacher Workshop in April and in classrooms later this year. The Data Nugget will be published both on the HF website as well as on the Data Nugget website at: .

    (2) Creating new pathways for schools with high proportions of under-served students to visit the Harvard Forest to collect data in our demonstration field plot, as a potential gateway to beginning an sLTER project at their own school (leveraged funding currently provides field trip scholarships for this purpose). 5 Groups have already participated in these scholarship field trips, and more will be visiting this spring.

    (3) Continued engagement of sLTER teachers in professional development experiences integrated in HFR Ecological study, which helps build sLTER teacher retention and catalyzes the creation of new lesson plans connected to field protocols. Currently 3 teachers are developing and piloting new land use change classroom activities related to Forest Cover change maps created by the Thompson "Scenarios" team. These activities will be shared in a variety of teacher workshops and conferences and published on the HFR website.

    Schoolyard updates can be followed on the program blog (

  • Research Category: Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens; Group Projects

  • Figures:
  • activemapgroup-2.jpg
    Figure 2-Schoolyard 5-10 year awards-2017-Snow.jpg
    Figure 3-Schoolyard ALL SITES map 2018-Snow.png
    Figure 4-Changing Forests Field Trip Scholarship-Snow.jpg