Our Campus as a Learning Laboratory: Citizen Science at Evergreen

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders
— Edward Abbey

How better to engage our hearts and minds to be defenders of our Earth than by becoming intimate and familiar with it?  Citizen Science is the  means for engaging students and community in ongoing scientific monitoring  projects.  Audubon's Annual Bird Count and BioBlitz happenings all over the world may Citizen Science activities you are familiar with.  

This winter, here at Evergreen, we are working in partnership with park rangers and educators from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to designate areas in our fields and woods as ongoing study sites for Citizen Science projects.  In the spring, we will launch a number of monitoring activities, teaching students and teachers across the grades how to collect data in our plots. 

The data we collect will, over time, help us better understand the relationship between organisms and the changing climate.  This is the science of Phenology.  Students will monitor many plants and animals, collect and record data and compare past records to learn  about how organisms in our environment are influenced by seasonal  and climatic changes.  

Which birds visit our campus? When? Can we find aquatic or terrestrial salamanders near our stream? What types of macro-invertebrates live in our leaf litter?  When do the wildflowers bloom? When do the trees bud experience leaf color change and drop their leaves?  These are all examples of questions that our study plots will help us to explore.

Stay tuned for more information about Citizen Science activities on our campus and ways that you can participate.

For more information, contact Marin Leroy, Environmental Education Coordinator