Principal, Griswold High School
Griswold High School Science Classes take part in Harvard Forest Program
Students explore local forests to contribute to a Harvard online database
Griswold, CT (October 7, 2021) - This fall, the Griswold High School science department is participating in one of Harvard Forest's Schoolyard Ecology programs, "Our Changing Forests: How do Forests Grow and Change Over Time?" Harvard Forest is Harvard University's 4,000-acre laboratory and classroom that offers a variety of programs to local and regional schools.
Led by Griswold High School (GHS) science teacher Tiffany DellaVentura, 41 students in grades 11 and 12 will contribute to Harvard Forest's online database by capturing data from a long-term forest study plot in the woods surrounding Griswold Public Schools. Middle and high school classrooms around New England have been contributing field data for Harvard Forest's Our Changing Forests Program since 2013 (see map and explore classroom data here).
On Thursday, October 21, ecologist Katherine Bennett from Harvard Forest will visit Griswold and work with DellaVentura's two Environmental Studies classes. "Students will collect data on the growth and biodiversity of trees, forest carbon storage, and the many drivers of change – such as wildlife, human activity, and more – affecting their study plot," noted Clarisse Hart, Director of Outreach & Education at Harvard Forest.
"This research project will provide students with real-world applications of what scientists actually do in the field," said DellaVentura. "Students will be collecting scientific data that will be entered into a database that scientists all over the world will have access to. This data is imperative to witness the changes of forests year after year – not just here on our campus, but throughout the entire state of CT, the US, and globally!"
Ecological studies have long been integrated into Griswold Public School's curriculum. In 1985, a Nature Trail was created by GHS science and woodshop classes and members of the greater-Griswold community. The Nature Trail and three interconnecting campus trails have since been utilized by classes and local families to explore wildlife and vegetation along the Quinebaug River. DellaVentura's classes' forest study plot will be located off of the Griswold Public Schools trails.
"Here at GHS, we are so incredibly lucky to have access to a variety of natural resources that we can explore and study, including the Quinebaug River located behind our campus," DellaVentura noted. "By having students be a part of this project, I hope to instill a sense of place and ownership to protect, connect, and value our natural resources. Students can then teach others of the diversity within our area and become engaged citizens and environmental stewards."
About Harvard Forest
The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University. From a center comprised of 4,000 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth. Since 1988, the Harvard Forest has been a Long-Term Ecological Research Site, funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct integrated, long-term studies of forest dynamics. Learn more at https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/
The Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology Program has been supporting teachers and students in collecting authentic ecological field data in their local schoolyards since 2004. To date, students have collected more than 40,000 data points related to climate change, forest dynamics, watersheds, and invasive insects – all publicly accessible at https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/schoolyard-lter-program. Teacher professional development workshops hosted at the Forest throughout the year connect teachers with mentor scientists to hone their skills in field data collection, data analysis, and telling authentic science stories using their own classroom data. The program is supported by the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Program and the Highstead Foundation. More information about the Harvard Forest program can be found at https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/Our_Changing_Forests
About Griswold Public Schools
The Griswold Public Schools offer a comprehensive educational program to approximately 1,700 students in grades Pre-K through 12. This program includes core academics, fine and applied arts, health and fitness, and career pathway offerings as well as special education, remedial support, an alternative high school, and an enrichment program. Griswold Public Schools educates for excellence by ensuring our students are connected, by nurturing individual student talents, and by fostering a future-focused mindset. Learn more at https://griswoldpublicschools.org/