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Winter-Spring 2017 Projects

Visit this page in Spring 2017 for updates on the teams’ work!

Environmental Education Projects

Restoring Connections 201762 Lauren MPA
This team will get out onto the trails at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum with elementary school children to help them cultivate a lasting, personal connection to nature, based on reciprocity and respect. They will develop and implement a field –based curricula for kinder, first and second graders. Activities will focus on “Coyote mentoring” methods such as sit spots and journaling, with a focus on native flora, fauna, and natural history. Their mission is develop their sense of awe, respect and responsibility to be good stewards. They will gain experience in program planning, as well as the development and implementation of hands-on learning experiences that are both scientifically sound and age-appropriate. They’ll be working in partnership with Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Adams Elementary School.

Canopy Connections 2017canopy connections
The Pacific Northwest is home to some magnificent old-growth forests. Unfortunately, many local children have never had the opportunity to explore this enchanting ecosystem first-hand. In response, the Canopy Connections Team will develop and facilitate a unique field trip experience — one that gives middle-schoolers an opportunity to climb into the canopy of an old-growth forest and explore the understory! The team will visit classrooms in April, and lead full day field trips every Thursday and Friday in the month of May. They’ll be working in partnership with the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.

School Garden Project
This team will join School Garden Project staff at local schools to provide standards-based science instruction through garden-based learning. In other words, they’ll get to play in the dirt with third graders while getting them exciting about science and gardening! In today’s world of increasing obesity, and lack of connection to nature, this team will help nurture children to “grow up to become healthy adults who eat their fruits and vegetables, know the basics of growing food, and contribute to a thriving community.”

Conservation Science In Action Projects

Climate and Phenology 2017img_3236
Climate change poses unknown but significant challenges to restoration practioners and conservation biologists. This team will assist with critical ecological research needed to conserve, manage and restore prairie habitats at a local to regional scale in the face of climate change. Under the umbrella of a comprehensive multi-university research project led by UO’s Bridgham Lab, ELP students will collect, analyze and disseminate phenological (timing of flowering and seed set) data in experimental climate change plots. The ELP will also broaden the impact of the research by sharing it through public presentations and a website that explains the scientific understanding of large-scale effects of climate change on the phenology and spatial distribution of plants. The students will learn about research methods, as well as plant identification and ecology.

Stream Stewardship 2017
Restoration of streamside vegetation improves water quality and benefits fish, wildlife and people. Enhancing in-stream habitat is important for endangered bull trout, salmon and other aquatic species. In partnership with the McKenzie Watershed Council and U.S. Forest Service, the Stream Stewardship Team will assist with data collection at two sites within the McKenzie watershed. They will learn about upland and aquatic restoration techniques and challenges, as well as how to identify local native and non-native plant species and evaluate in-stream habitat.

img_3380Riparian Restoration 2017
Whitewater Ranch is a sustainably-managed Christmas tree farm, diversified with forestry, blueberry and row crop plantings. The mission of the ranch is to provide quality agricultural products grown “with respect to the land and animals around them.” Since 2014, ELP teams have been improving conditions for Goose Creek with the overall goals of providing shade for the stream and habitat for pollinators within the context of a working farm. Past teams have created a management plan, installed and maintained riparian plantings, and monitored plants and animals. In 2017, this team will continue that work and get involved in a larger-scale riparian planting project at Goose Creek in collaboration with McKenzie Watershed Council. They will learn about restoration techniques and challenges, as well as monitoring methods.