Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Grads' IslandWood Science Fair

This week, as our winter classes come to a close, we pause to celebrate. The other night, we shared our natural history projects in good old science fair format, teaching each other about the various topics we have become experts on since the early fall. In October, we all identified our own area of study based on personal interests. From then, with the support of our teachers Greg and Stan, we researched, conducted field investigations, analyzed, and concluded. It was true joy to celebrate with each other the work we have done and, more importantly, the knowledge and skills we have gained. But don’t just take this blogger’s word for it…here is what our dedicated teachers had to say!

Greg said: “Last year when I was tasked with creating a new assignment for this course I simply wanted to create space for our graduate students to deeply explore a topic of their choice as it relates to the IslandWood landscape in a way that utilizes the scholarship of the scientific community and the experiences that come with studying nature outside.  The quality of work that was generated this year was exceptional.  Visiting with all of my students and hearing good stories during the ‘science fair’ has been a highlight of my year.”

Stan added: “This is what inquiry-based science is all about. The quality of the group’s diverse research questions, the creative processes that went into answering those questions through research design and the collection of pertinent data, and the interpretation of the results, in short, blew me away.  

The collective results of this effort and the contributions to future curricula, place-based content or just some fun teachable moments on the trail, will be felt at IslandWood for a long time.

In my mind, there are few things more rewarding than nurturing the ability to come up with a good solid research question, and answering that question through diligent fieldwork. Hats off to the entire class!”

Kudos to all of the grads on a job well done! 
 Ted teaches Stan about collecting the sounds of the landscape
 Michael stands proudly in front of his project about the history of fires at IslandWood
 Selena teaches Greg about invasive plants in IslandWood wild zones
 Catie displays her findings about tracking IslandWood's mammals
 Cohort D teaches Cohort C all about their projects
 Eboni teaches Yi-Chuan about nurse logs and stumps
Lily shows off her study of forest fungi