by Suzanne Whelan
Last Tuesday, 40 ninth graders from Redwood High School kicked off our 2010-11 school year watershed field trip program. These students from Mr. Stewart’s biology class worked on habitat restoration and collected quantitative field data along Pumpkin Ridge Trail. This year our high school volunteers are doing forest succession monitoring, looking at forest dynamics over a long period of time.
On Wednesday, 62 11th and 12th graders (two classes of AP Environmental Science) from Terra Linda High School spent the morning removing invasive French broom from the lakeshore of Lake Lagunitas and collecting forest succession data. (See more photos from their field trip here.) Their teacher, Mr. Zargar, also participated in the field trip program last year and described it as one of the highlights of the school year.
Besides having a great time, our field trip students are making a real difference: The ecological data they collect is actually used by MMWD for resource planning and management. Past examples of field science activities include sudden oak death monitoring, invasive species population dynamics and spread studies, and cost/benefit analysis for weed control options. The students also are helping to restore native habitat on Mt. Tamalpais. In addition to removing invasive weeds, this winter we’ll be planting native species on the watershed.
The goal of the field trip program is to strengthen understanding of the link between drinking water production, natural resource preservation and water conservation through hands-on activities that further the work of MMWD and foster a spirit of stewardship in the next generation.
The field trips run through May and are FREE for schools in our service area. Field trips are available for grades 3 – 5 and for high school students. There are only a few openings left, so ask you favorite teacher to reserve a space today! Learn more about our school programs here.