Climate Lab Expands Beyond Pilot Stage

Manomet recently launched a new phase of its Climate Lab program, which teaches science educators how their students can collect data on biological indicators of climate change.

 

The program was launched as a pilot in the spring of 2012 through a grant from the Dorr Foundation and is a partnership between Manomet, the land conservation organization Wildlands Trust and TERC, a Cambridge-based curriculum development organization focused on improving mathematics and science education.

 

In the program’s pilot stage, students from Plymouth’s Rising Tide Charter School were invited to a Wildlands Trust property in Bourne, Massachusetts, where they learned to measure biological climate change indicators including tree height, canopy cover, shrub cover and leaf development.

 

“In order to reach more students, the program has shifted focus from inviting students to the climate lab to inviting teachers, who will bring the methods back with them to set up their own ‘climate labs’ on school grounds,” said Banding Director Trevor Lloyd-Evans.

 

Lloyd-Evans is leading Manomet’s involvement in the program and longtime Manomet landbird bander Evan Dalton will serve as a coordinator and instructor.

 

In October, a training session will be held at the Bourne property for teachers from two school districts in Sandwich and Duxbury, Massachusetts.

 

 “Setting up transects on school grounds will allow students to collect standardized data in the same locations from year to year without having to leave school property,” Lloyd-Evans said. “These long-term data will indicate reactions of plants and animals to climate change and will contribute to Manomet’s existing database on local climate change.”

 

Manomet’s longterm landbird banding dataset provides a unique window on the impacts of climate change on landbird migration. Climate Lab gives students a chance to observe the connections between the timing of leaf out, insect hatching and the migrations of the birds that depend on those insects as a food source.

 

 “The Climate Lab gives students hands-on experience in measuring the impacts of climate change,” Lloyd-Evans said. “It teaches them that climate change is not just something happening in the Arctic. It is happening right here in southeastern Massachusetts.”

 

- Haley Jordan