Students: Jasmine Jones, Jana Dejesus, Reyes Montes, Derek Draper, Stefany Baker
This program was designed to facilitate field surveying and research for Schreiner students on the local ecosystems in the surrounding area. From the research, an ecology based field biology program was designed targeted at middle school children of the community. Each researcher adopted a subject area or attribute of an ecosystem and developed curriculum and activities to lead eight sessions throughout the semester.
In the Aquatics area, students will learn about environmental processes associated with aquatic ecosystems such as predation, competition, deposition, flooding, drought, erosion, and the diversity of aquatic ecosystems and wetland types found locally. In the Entomology area, students will study the morphology of local bugs and their specialized adaptive structures. They will learn about the phylogeny of insects and interactions with other bugs, plants, and animals and take recordings in a field journal. They will observe predation, competition, metamorphosis and other life cycle concepts as they develop an understanding of the ecological niche of different insects.
In the Megafauna area, students will discover megafauna as well as the relatively minor roles these species play in ecosystems compared to much smaller individuals. We will discuss how rural faunas are augmented by domesticated, feral, and invasive species. The role of white-tailed deer as abundant megafauna in this part of Texas will also be addressed. In the Botany area, students will also design and plant a student garden, and we may also include using variables as a manipulative experiment. The students will also learn developmental processes of plant, physiology and morphological concepts, and explore the local plant life.
In the Habitat area, students will design and build a new, small-scale habitat at Schreiner University to monitor over the sessions as all of the subject area concepts come together. The students will colonize this habitat, take field notes and make observations.