Claremont High School students dove into fieldwork at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden this year. Now the group of 40 juniors and seniors in Carly McKean’s International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems and Societies classes are planning a celebration highlighting their research at the Garden on Friday, June 4, 2010, at 3:15 p.m. at the Garden.
The students’ research involved monitoring chaparral and dessert habitats at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. McKean asked the students to create experiments that involved two ecological tools that allow scientists to measure the abundance of organisms in an area. Projects included transect and quadrat studies to monitor the impact of introduced weed species on native plant biodiversity. The students will report on their findings to date. This is the beginning of a long-term study that will be continued in years to come by McKean’s students.
“Outdoor field studies is especially suited to engage students in science,” says Director of Education Lorrae Fuentes at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. “Observations made in the field stimulate students to produce their own questions. The results of these inquiries are often unexpected, but rarely are they uninteresting. Ultimately students gain skills and understanding needed to critically evaluate the important current issues in science and the environment.”
“This [the Garden] is such an amazing resource for us,” says McKean.