2008 Fall Meeting          
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Cite abstracts as Author(s) (2008), Title, Eos Trans. AGU,
89
(53), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract xxxxx-xx

HR: 1340h
AN: ED13C-0616
TI: FOREST WATCH: A K-12 OUTREACH PROGRAM TO ENGAGE YOUNG STUDENTS IN AUTHENTIC, HANDS-ON SCIENCE
AU: * Rock, B N
EM: barry.rock@unh.edu
AF: Complex Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, United States
AU: Gagnon, M
EM: mgagnon@garnet.sr.unh.edu
AF: Complex Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, United States
AB: The Forest Watch Program is a K-12 science outreach program developed at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 1991. The program engages pre-college teachers and their students in assisting researchers at UNH in the assessment of the state-of-health of white pine (Pinus strobus), a known bio- indicator species for exposure to elevated levels of ground-level ozone. Students participate in three types of activities: 1. selection, collection, and analysis of needle samples from five permanently tagged white pine trees near their school; 2. Study of needles in their classroom and sending a set of needles to UNH for spectral analysis; and 3. analysis of remote sensing data (Landsat TM) provided of their local area using freeware software (MultiSpec). Student-derived foliar symptomology, needle length, needle retention, and tree biometrics, plus the spectral indices, allow UNH researchers to characterize annual variations in tree state-of-health, and to correlate that state-of-health with annual summer ozone levels collected by the EPA and state environmental monitoring networks. The results suggest that regional air quality and state- of–health of trees has improved since 1991. Annual student data and the yearly spectral variations, for the same trees, suggest that white pine health has improved dramatically since 1997/8. This improvement in tree health corresponds with improved regional air quality. An evaluation of student data reliability has been conducted and suggests that the DBH measurements are a most reliable indicator of tree growth. Student data are more reliable if multiple sets of measurements are made and averaged together, compared with single sets of measurements. Based on both student data and spectral analysis of student-provided branch samples, the greatest damage (chlorosis) occurs in trees located along the seacoast areas. Participation in Forest Watch introduces students to the scientific method via an authentic research program. The program is designed in partnership with participating teachers, and thus meets New England state science and mathematics curricula for K-12 education. Student participation in Forest Watch has resulted in an improved understanding of inter-annual white pine state-of-health response to improved air quality across the New England region.
DE: 0805 Elementary and secondary education
DE: 0830 Teacher training
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: 2008 Fall Meeting