Field Science & Leadership

7TH - 12TH GRADE

The Field Science and Leadership series offers inquiry-based programs designed to draw out students’ interests and curiosities to formulate research questions and implement field investigations. Working in small trail groups, students design and complete a field investigation about the forested or aquatic communities surrounding the Learning Center based on their scientific questions. The final day of the program includes a symposium-style discussion where each group presents their findings. Through this process, students gain firsthand experience with scientific equipment and field study techniques while learning how National Park Service researchers design field research projects and make land management decisions in our national parks.

CARNIVORE CURRICULUM

Students study North Cascades carnivores and their habitat in surrounding forests near the Learning Center. On the first day, students gain an overview of North Cascades ecosystems and engage in hands-on lessons about field inquiry, plant identification and forest carnivores. On the second day, students investigate the habitat potential of the forest community surrounding the Learning Center for threatened and endangered forest carnivores by examining tree diversity and canopy cover, coarse woody debris and ground cover in forest transects. Working in small groups, students gather data at their field study site and then compile and analyze their data back in the classroom. On the final day of the program, students present their findings and make conclusions about their research in a symposium-style discussion with their peers, teachers and national park representatives.

AQUATIC INVESTIGATIONS CURRICULUM

Students study the aquatic interactions between the physical, chemical and biological components of the local watershed. On the first day, students gain an overview of North Cascades ecosystems and learn the parameters researchers use to study water quality and aquatic ecosystems. On the second day, students develop a scientific question through site observations, which they will answer using a suite of data collection methods including water chemistry testing, benthic macroinvertibrate sampling and examination of physical stream characteristics. Working in small groups, students gather data at their field study site and then compile and analyze their data back in the classroom. On the third day, students present their findings and make conclusions about their research in a symposium-style discussion with their peers, teachers and national park representatives.

Mountain School Resources

The Mountain School Blog is a way that students can stay connected to their experience. The blog tell what current Mountain School students are doing as well as tells of recent events and happenings up at the Learning Center. Mountain School students, teachers and classes are encouraged to submit posts about their Mountain School experience!

Mountain School blog

From field study to evening programs, this document shows a typical Mountain School program.

Mountain School program schedule

Mountain School Video (6:08)

MM-MS-thumb.jpgLearn more about Mountain School with this fun video by Omar Garcia and Michelle Tamez. 6:08Watch Video

 

MM-MSTV-thumb.jpgProduced by KCTS 9 Seattle for the "North Cascades: People, Places and Stories", this episode examines Mountain School. 4:54 | Watch Video

Mountain School: A 7-million-acre campus for kids

DIABLO LAKE — To truly learn about the great outdoors, one has get out into it and experience the sights, sounds and smells. T

ouch the bark, feel the moss, hear the birds, feel the breeze.

Children who attend Mountain School can do just that.

The school is a 7 million-acre campus with the North Cascades Institute’s Environmental Learning Center serving as its lecture hall. “

We are very fortunate to be able to offer this program,” said Institute’s program coordinator Chris Kiser. “It’s an opportunity for students to make friends and learn about themselves as well as the outdoors. They learn all about producers, consumers and the ecosystem.”

Mountain School packs a lot into three days. The focus is on science, and the natural and cultural history of the North Cascades.

— Skagit Valley Herald, 10/24/14

Field Guide to North Cascades Institute
Field-Guide-2014