Hank Stevens, Biology

Three students standing next to a map of the natural areas.In Ecology of North America (BIO 176), we explore natural landscapes. One of the best ways to do this is to get outside, and use our senses of smell, sight, sound, and touch. In two different assignments, students go on scavenger hunts to Bachelor Preserve, and take pictures and record sounds of features of our local deciduous forests. We seek out features of plants that help us identify different kinds of plants. We look for features of streams that reveal patterns of past activity. We look down at our feet to find different types of soils and leaf litter. We look up and out to understand vertical stratification including shrubs, subcanopy and canopy trees. We seek out parts of the forests that suggest long-term and short-term successional stages. We even record and characterize the sounds (sonograms) of contrasting areas of the forests. Different people respond differently to spending time in the woods, and we all react in our own unique ways. We pay attention to that as well, and record those experiences in writing.

Not surprisingly, students tend to really enjoy these activities, and open their eyes to one of the great benefits of our campus and to the joy of just being outside in Nature.

moss on a log
Beautiful woods in Natural areas around dusk
closeup image of tree bark
Natural areas with handwritten labels on the image indicating canopy, trees, shrubs, and ground cover.