Recently, twelve students from Bloomington South High School visited the Morgan Monroe State Forest AmeriFlux Site. These students are all members of an environmental awareness club at the school which is mentored by their teacher, Amanda Figolah. The goal of the field trip was to introduce the students to the myriad of measurements being conducted at the site to quantify the amount of carbon dioxide that is taken up by the forest and to provide hands on experience to the students in making these measurements themselves.
There were four measurement stations that the students cycled through during their day. These measurements encompassed multiple scales from the single leaf to the ecosystem and also the main pathways by which carbon dioxide enters and leaves the forest. Danilo Dragoni gave the students a tour of the eddy-covariance system and explained how the instruments on the tower measure carbon uptake. Whitney Moore provided a contrast to the tower based approach to measuring carbon uptake by guiding the students as they made measurements of tree growth using dendrometer bands on the ground. Eddie Brzostek taught the students how to use a Licor-8100 to measure soil respiration and explained the inner workings of an automated soil respiration system currently functioning at the site. Finally, Tyler Roman guided the students through measurements of photosynthesis on single leaves using a Licor-6400.
The high school teacher talks about her experience with a field trip to the MMSF research site
Our field trip to the MMFS was absolutely fabulous! As a teacher it was wonderful to spend time in the field seeing the science behind climate and learning about the methods being used locally. Our facilitators brought the science of climate change to the students in an accessible and fun way. We were able to experience science in a hands-on setting and collect real data in the field. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have worked with the IU partners and Sycamore Land Trust to make this opportunity available to students. I returned to school inspired and motivated to include the research in class planning and found myself working this information into lectures and activities as a result.
- Amanda Figolah (High School Educator)
Students talk about their experiences