Teachers learning from Hubbard Brook science

Network News Fall 2006, Vol. 19 No. 2
Site News

The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF), a nonprofit organization that supports the research work at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, site of the Hubbard Brook LTER site, is expanding its offerings to secondary school teachers and developing ongoing relationships with area schools to bring ecosystem science to New Hampshire students. As a result, more teachers came to the forest this year as participants in several professional development courses that highlight the value of this LTER site for education.

The most comprehensive program we offer teachers is a year-long series of professional development experiences called A Forest for Every Classroom. The program began in May 2006 and will culminate with a session in February 2007 when the 10 participating teachers will present the forest studies curricula they developed during the program.

At our first workshop in May, Nick Rodenhouse, an HBR researcher and ornithologist from Wellesley College, presented his forest songbird research to the teachers. Similarly, Lindsey Rustad, a forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, made a presentation on global warming during our August institute. Our hope is that such interactions between Hubbard Brook scientists and teachers contribute to meaningful learning for the teachers, fuel their passion for teaching, and promote their growth as educators. They, in turn, transfer the ecosystem science concepts and experiences they have learned to their students.

In October, the New Hampshire Science Teachers’ Association invited us to offer a half-day teacher workshop focused on Hubbard Brook science as a way to profile Hubbard Brook as a rich resource for the state’s schools. We are also co-creating a course with Plymouth State University for pre-service teachers called Ecosystem Science for Educators that focuses on acid rain research and monitoring. Plymouth will offer the course during its “winterim” term in January 2007. Hubbard Brook scientists Kevin McGuire and John Campbell will help teach the fieldwork portion of the class. Each course participant will develop a lesson plan to teach as a guest educator in the classroom of a practicing teacher, who will serve as a mentor to the teacher-in-training.

Increasingly, Hubbard Brook is used in focused ways to contribute to the professional development of secondary school teachers in New Hampshire. Our goal is to work through these teachers to teach students how to use ecological knowledge to make informed decisions that promote a sustainable future.

Jenna Guarino is the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation's Director of Education