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Freshman Seminar Course Culminates with Student Symposium

December 9, 2022
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Freshman Seminar students pose at a stream during a field visit

Marking the bittersweet end to a semester of field trips to Harvard Forest's 4,000-acre classroom, students from Harvard University's Freshman Seminar Course "Global Change Ecology: Forests, Ecosystem Function, and the Future" presented final projects on December 5. Over the course of the semester, students learned about the critical role that forests play in a changing climate, with an immersive field trip format that this year included visits to many long-term ecological experiments, a science communication workshop and an environmental justice-focused lunch with a local Indigenous leader, and hands-on experience with the measurements that are being used at the Forest to assess forest change.

Associated with the course for 20 years, Dave Orwig, a Senior Ecologist at Harvard Forest, teaches the course and emphasizes the importance of small group discussions and connecting students with leading global change scientists.

Students' final presentations discussed various issues related to climate change, including topics such as drivers of phenological change, maximizing carbon sequestration, changes in maple syrup production, and how to approach multidisciplinary issues such as nuclear energy production, protecting old growth forests, and responding to sea-level rise.


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