Applying Classroom Theory in the Forest
By Andrew Wilson
Under-graduate and graduate students from Columbia University joined professors Kevin Griffin and Matthew Palmer in September for the first of 10 field trips outside of the New York City area. Griffin and Palmer teach Forest Ecology, a course that combines classroom theory with hands-on experience and training in methods of ecological field work. Seeking to give students first-hand ecological experience with forested areas, the course offers students the opportunity to participate in 10 field trips, ranging from studying the impact of deer and exotic plants on forest community structure in the Black Rock Forest, to examining successional and old growth forests in Central New Jersey. Two of the field trips are overnight trips.
Studying a variety of ecological issues facing forests, students gain insight into forest types and related management issues. Most recently, Griffin and Palmer took students on a two-day trip to study forests along an elevation gradient in the Catskill Mountains. On the menu for the next field experience is an overnight trip to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to study fire ecology and coastal plain forests.
Andrew Wilson is an intern with the Earth Institute’s Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development and working toward a degree in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice.