- The Andrews Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site has a long-term partnership with the University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), providing service-learning opportunities for undergraduate students to facilitate field trips for middle school students to the Andrews LTER site. Undergraduate students develop field trip lessons based on Andrews Forest research and creative inquiry with support of Schoolyard LTER coordinator and Andrews LTER scientist Schulze. In Middle school students hiking in the Andrews LTER 2023, six classes and 156 students total engaged in day-long field trips at the Andrews LTER site that involved forest ecology and tree identification, time to reflect on and connect with the iconic old-growth ecosystems, and discussions about environmental stewardship ideas that the students could implement both at the Andrews LTER site and in their homes.
The students came from three different schools, two of them rural schools with low socio-economic status in the Lane County Educational Service District and the other a Montessori school in the Eugene area. This report shares the results from an evaluation project led by Dr. Matt Nyman and Dr. Kari O’Connell that assessed the impact of the field trips on the middle school students. The evaluation was designed to also support the middle school students’ own reflection and learning at the same time as gathering data about the impact of the experience.