PS 7-70
K-12 phenology lessons for the Phenocam project

Monday, August 5, 2013
Exhibit Hall B, Minneapolis Convention Center
Katherine F. Bennett, Harvard University, Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
Background/Question/Methods: see below

Results/Conclusions: see below

In the fall of 2011, the Ashburnham- Westminster Regional School District became the first of five schools to join Dr. Andrew Richardson’s Phenocam Network with the installation of a digital phenocam on the roof of Overlook Middle School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Our school district is now part of a network of near surface remote sensing digital cameras that send images of forest, shrub, and grassland vegetation cover at more than 130 diverse sites in North America to the digital archives at the University of New Hampshire. Our phenocam provides a digital image every half hour of the mixed deciduous/ coniferous forest canopy due north from the school. As a part of the Phenocam project, students at the K-12 level have expanded the scope of phenological monitoring that is part of the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology Program protocol, Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming. In this protocol, students work with Dr. John O’Keefe to monitor buds and leaves on schoolyard trees to determine the length of the growing season, giving them the opportunity to be a part of real and important research concerning the critical environmental issue of climate change. Students involved in the Buds, Leaves, and Global Warmingstudy have the opportunity to compare their ground data on budburst, color change, and leaf drop to the webcam images, as well as to similar forested sites in locations throughout the United States. Lessons are being developed for comparing student data to phenocam images, GCC (Green Chromatic Coordinate- relative greenness) graphs extracted from the images, and satellite data. Lessons addressing map scale and Urban Heat Island effect will also be available for teachers. This project will greatly enhance the district science and mathematics curriculum and further our goal of educating ecologically literate and concerned citizens.