Harvard Forest is an ecological research area of 3,000 acres owned and managed by Harvard University and located in Petersham, Massachusetts. The property, in operation since 1907, includes one of North America’s oldest managed forests, educational and research facilities, a museum, and recreation trails.
Harvard Forest will hold three Schoolyard Ecology Summer Institute training workshops for teachers on August 22nd and 23rd. Each workshop will prepare teachers to have their students conduct real scientific research on important questions affecting forests in New England.
One of the workshops is the two-day Our Changing Forests Summer Institute for Grades 7 – 12 Teachers on August 22nd and 23rd from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The Our Changing Forests project allows students to investigate how forests are changing over time, and how this affects carbon dynamics.
The primary field activity involves measuring the diameter of each tree in a 10×10 meter area that will be marked as a study plot. A Harvard Forest Project Coach will assist with initial set up of the study plots at each school, and be available for consultation as needed throughout the first study season. Other forest dynamics that will be looked at include tracking the presence of: wildlife sign; invasive species; pests and pathogens; rock or water cover, etc.
On Day 2 of the Institute, Going Deeper into Understanding Land Use Change: Harvard Forest Land-Use Scenarios GIS mapper, Joshua Plisinski will provide teachers with a series of land cover change maps created for each specific school site. Staff and teachers will have time to discuss how to engage students in working with maps to see how the changes that they are observing in their plots relate to the larger landscape context.
Cost of the Institute is $50, including the 2-day session, teacher notebook, project materials and year-round support.
For more information or to register, go to