Spring Mountain School
Spring Mountain School is so fun! Middle school through high school students get to study forest carnivores, learn about and explore habitat around the learning center and they get to use field equipment. How exciting is that?
Spring Mountain School runs from March to June and students travel to the Learning Center from Mount Vernon, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham. Students spend three days learning how to use scientific forestry equipment, experiencing a variety of field study techniques, and investigating the habitat potential of the forest community surrounding the learning center for lynx, fisher and pine marten.
(Top) A student measures the diameter of a tree. (Above) Two students work to identify native plants using field guides and a dichotomous key.
Measuring coarse woody debris is hard work! Might as well take a seat and have a closer look.
Working in small field groups students collect habitat data including: canopy coverage; ground cover percentage and type; coarse woody debris percentage and structural class; and living tree height, species and diameter. Students then compile and analyze their data and determine if the forest habitat is suitable for the lynx, fisher or pine marten. The last day of Mountain School students gather for a symposium to present their findings and answer questions about their research.
Students learn how to use a clinometer to determine tree height.
I think I enjoy spring Mountain School so much because students are exposed to field research holistically. They learn about and use equipment, discuss different research techniques and learn about carnivore research the park is conducting as well as why that research is so important. And, who doesn’t love being outside in spring?Photos courtesy of Meghann Willard