Harvard Forest Schoolyard teacher reports from ASM

Network News Fall 2012, Vol. 25 No. 3
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Kate Bennett, a 5th grade teacher at the John R. Briggs Elementary School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, knows a lot about LTER. For the past eight years, she and her students have participated in the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Program. She has also completed four summer research experiences at the Forest with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and has even co-authored a scientific paper.

When offered the opportunity to attend the 2012 All-Scientists’ Meeting in Estes Park, Colo., she put together a poster on her Schoolyard experience, but didn’t stop there. She also presented to the Education Committee and spoke as a panelist in a phenology working group.

Bennett reports, “Participating in a conference like this is really energizing. Joining working groups and hearing speakers on the cutting edge of scientific research is valuable to me as an educator on many levels. Our students deserve a science curriculum that is current and authentic. And I can’t help but bring my enthusiasm back to my students.”

Bennett blogged with her students from the conference, keeping them up to date on her activities and posting pictures of deer, elk, and other local wildlife. The students responded to questions, highlighting some of the differences between Massachusetts and Colorado. “The students’ accomplishments through the LTER program set my school apart. This partnership allows us to integrate current scientific research into our existing curriculum in exciting ways that the kids really remember.”

By Katherine Bennett & Clarisse Hart (HFR)