Summer SAVY 2018: Session 6, Day 5 – Field Ecology (Rising 5th/6th)
Today was the final day of the Field Ecology SAVY course! Our focus for today was on how we as humans impact the world around us. Your children discussed the roles of both invasive species and urbanization on the environment and even came up with ways to mitigate these problems. We had a journal club discussion where each student became an expert on control of either invasive plants, birds, or aquatic organisms and worked with other experts to develop a management strategy for all invasive organisms. Their discussion emphasized the complexity of management strategies and they quickly learned that a single strategy will not work for everything. We wrapped up our discussion on invasive species by developing personal management plans to help prevent us from allowing invasive species to spread.
We also discussed the various ways that urbanization harms the environment. For starters, we discussed air pollution and how it can lead to acid rain and climate change. We also talked about the serious impacts that plastics and other water pollutants have on aquatic systems. Finally, we talked about how we can reduce our footprint through reducing, reusing, and recycling materials such as plastics.
We ended our day by exploring two labs on the Vanderbilt campus and a greenhouse used by numerous scientists to rear plants. These included a lab studying why bird song is unique and why it’s necessary. Another lab studies the role of microbes in insect reproduction. Your students learned from both labs, looking at insects and bacteria under the microscope and seeing the smallest recording studio in Nashville (used for bird recordings)!
This final day of Field Ecology allowed the students to bring together the concepts they learned throughout the week. They were able to apply this knowledge to solve problems at local and national levels. They learned through manipulation of our environment (through invasive species and urbanization) how interconnected our world is and how small changes can lead to huge consequences.
We are honored to have been able to teach your children this week!
– Humans and the environment team (Dylan Shropshire and Brittany Leigh)
Field Trip Photos