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Successful First Summer Institute for Teachers

Friday, October 1, 2004
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During the last weeks of August, Harvard Forest LTER hosted 20 teachers in a newly created Ecology Research in the Schoolyard Schoolyard TeachersSummer Institute for Teachers. The institute, funded by the National Science Foundation (EdEn Venture) and by Green Leaf Foundation, recieved an enthusiastic response from participants.

Harvard Forest, in collaboration with the Millers River Environmental Center (MREC), and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment (HC), formed the institute as part of a yearlong science teacher professional development project in central Massachusetts. Scientists led indoor introduction sessions followed by outdoor sessions in the forest to try out the field projects. Afternoons were spent participating in outdoor and indoor activities that were modeled for use with k-12 classes.

Each teacher has been assigned to a forest ecology project "coach" to support them in this training, as well as throughout the school year. Currently, project coaches are completing site visits with individual teachers at their schools in order to plan and flag each particular field site. Coaches are also working side by side with teachers both in and out of the classroom to support them in introducing this exciting new project to students.

This core group of teachers and coaches will all gather together at Harvard Forest in November for the first of 3 academic year seminars to supplement their field ecology training. Topics such as data analysis, assessment, and community outreach will be addressed in more detail during these seminars. By next spring, Harvard Forest expects to have a model for LTER schoolyard education to share with the rest of the network. 

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