Class Immerses LHS Students In Nature
Sixteen LHS students recently finished a summer school class that took them through a gulch, out on Lake Erie, into a forest and down in a cave, among other interesting outdoor places. The Lakewood Field Ecology course has been available each summer since 2007 through a grant funded by the Grossman family's charitable foundation. School tuition as well as all fees associated with the course are paid for by the grant.
Below is an outline of many of the educational activities the students engaged in, led by LHS science teachers Alice Hubbard, Lisa Krumroy and Nima Zaaeed.
- River Study, Rocky River: Students conducted Stream Quality Monitoring (SQM) according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Protocol in the Rocky River. They collected this data in order to write a scientific paper comparing the health of this river to the Chagrin River.
- River Study, Chagrin River: Students repeated the SQM procedures on the Chagrin River. Because this river is designated a “Scenic River” by the state of Ohio, the students data will be shared with the ODNR, which tabulates and publishes the results of all its scenic rivers at the end of the year.
- Adopt-A-Beach Study and Clean-up: Students participated in the Adopt-a-Beach program, sponsored by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The results collected by the students were sent to the Alliance for tabulation and publication. Speakers from Northeast Ohio Sewer District spoke to the students about the water quality of Lake Erie.
- Geology Program, Cuyahoga Valley National Park: The students were led on a hike through the Virginia Kendall Ledges while learning the background of the geology of the area. Afterwards, students conducted a forest study using a random sampling technique to determine the composition of trees in the upland forest. The students then sampled the soil and performed chemical analyses to determine the nutrient content. These results were used to write the second scientific paper, comparing this coniferous forest to a deciduous forest found in the Rocky River Reservation.
- Forest Study, Rocky River Reservation: Students repeated the techniques learned in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the deciduous forest of Rocky River Reservation. The students then cooked their own dinners over a bonfire (a first for many of the students)! The evening ended with a hike of the area culminating in a view overlooking the two branches of the Rocky River as the sun set.
- Case Western Reserve Farm: Students conducted a study of four phases of succession at the farm.
- Stebbins Gulch, Holden Arboretum: Students were led on a hike through Stebbins Gulch, a deep ravine cutting through and exposing millions of years of sedimentary rock.
- South Bass Island: Students began by meeting Kristen Stanford of Ohio State University who has researched and coordinated the recovery of the Lake Erie water snake. They learned some of her research techniques and had the opportunity to try to catch, record, and release some of these snakes. Later students went on a walk on a wildflower trail and later toured Crystal Cave, learning about the geology of the Lake Erie Isalnds.
- Floating Water Lab, Hinckley Lake: Students conducted chemical tests and macroinvertebrate surveys to analyze the water quality of Hinckley Lake.
Students had a wonderful two weeks and learned a great deal about the outdoor world around them! The students came from a variety of backgrounds that is typical of Lakewood High School, and many expressed how much they enjoyed the class and how much of what they experienced was new to them.
"I really enjoyed the two weeks I spent in class," said junior Georgia Cole. "I had a much better grasp of the material when we could preform tests rather than reading about them out of a textbook, like in a normal class. All of the trips we went on gave us a good picture of what numerous careers in science could be like."