Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gunston MS (Arlington) Ecosystems Project

Reposted from the Green STEM Learning Blog by Mary Van Dyke:

Learning from Trees:Gunston Middle School Tree Ecosystems Project and Project Learning Tree Webinar

 Here is a Arlington Public Schools GreenScene film of the three-day Tree Ecosystem Study I co-facilitated with Luz Chamorro at Gunston Middle School in September as a catalyst for student stewardship projects.
The movie shows Day 3 where classes are going out to look at three stations to evaluate the ecosystems of trees on the hillside.

On Day 1 students drew their Favorite Tree and we learned about products from trees, Goods from the Woods and also recapped Tree Biology - how a tree works inside and out.

On Day 2 we went outdoors and observed the health of the Kwanzaan Cherry Tree outside the classroom, measured the tree's circumference.  Then we entered the data into the i-Tree Design online calculator to monetize the ecosystem services provided by the tree.

Then as shown in the film above on Day 3 we went out to a bank of trees: Loblolly Pines, White Pines, Oaks and Cherries, and assessed the ecosystem in terms of abiotic and biotic factors.
The students assessed the needs and issues of each ecosystem.
What was the human impact in the area?
What could improve the ecosystem?
Then we focussed on stewardship and community partners.
Who would you contact if you wanted to start a project to improve this ecosystem?

The Gunston Middle School students are now working on stewardship projects that will be presented at the Earth Force/NOVA Outside Student Environmental Action Showcase in April 2014.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is running a webinar What Can We Learn from Schoolyard Trees - tomorrow Wednesday October 16 at 4 PM on this topic of learning from schoolyard trees and using i-Tree Design to catalyze year-round stewardship.

You can connect to the PLT Webinar via your computer:
You will be connected to broadcast audio after joining the meeting.

As an alternative, you may connect via telephone:
U.S. & Canada Toll-Free    800-769-0959

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