Summer on a Shoestring


Middle School on a Shoestring
November 9, 2012, 2:24 am
Filed under: Litter Sorting

ImageWhile the summer has now passed us by it is important to remember that life (and senescence) goes on out in the stands.  Researchers and graduate students may not be out daily but there is still a bustle of activity even now as fall seems to be rapidly closing. I have twice seen other researchers out in the woods and twice just missed others by a day or hours.

Right now there are two major projects centered around litterfall occurring in the Shoestring stands.  Since one of them is mine I would like to tell you a little about what we are doing and who is really doing it.

ImagePicture if you will a lab space, aptly named “The Leaf Lab”.  Now add shelves and fill these with leaf litter filled brown bags.  Now add 100 7th and 8th grade students spread throughout the day and you begin to get the idea.

I am a middle school science teacher at  A. Crosby Kennett Middle School.  This past summer I had the opportunity to join the shoestring crew in Bartlett as an RET.  My goal was to design and conduct a publishable study while involving my students.  That project is now underway with about 100 middle school lab techs. Their goal: to learn how scientists conduct research, and to understand what factors may control nutrient cycling in the forests of their surrounding valley.  We will meet these goals by conducting a leaf litter decomposition experiment in some of the MELNHE plots.  You can check later posts for more detailed information on the experiment as I hope to get some students writing here soon.

-Rick

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