FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College and Oak Mountain State Park have begun a new environmental education and research program involving middle school and high school teachers and their students and other volunteers.
Through the program, teachers and their classes will take responsibility for monitoring growth and survival of forest trees within elongated research plots known as transects through the forest. Students and volunteers will count and identify trees and measure their growth. The data from the “Adopt-a-Transect” program will then be entered into a database managed by BSC Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Scot Duncan. Analyses of the data will help scientists and park managers understand the ecology of the forest.
Teachers will integrate the activities at the park with a classroom curriculum emphasizing ecology and forest biology.
The first school to participate in the program is The Redmont School in the Waldorf Tradition. Teacher Sheila Rubin and her fifth and sixth graders will work at the park Nov. 11 with Keener Morrow, naturalist and events coordinator at Oak Mountain.
According to Duncan, who maintains an ongoing research program in the park, the program offers three major benefits to the community.
“This program helps to describe and manage the park's biodiversity, engenders a sense of environmental stewardship in Alabama's citizens and future community leaders, and demonstrates how citizens can become citizen-scientists in efforts promoting a sustainable relationship with the natural world,” Duncan said.