Field Ecology Students Study The Impact of Prairie Raptor Poles
FVS's field ecology class utilizes the School's prairie to allow students to collect data before analysis in the classroom.
For the past two years, Fountain Valley School of Colorado students have installed raptor poles on the school prairie as a part of Earth Day service learning projects. The poles (invasive trees cut from elsewhere on School property) encourage perching raptors who help naturally control prairie dog populations.
This year, students in Brett Rubenstein's field ecology class began to look at the impact of prairie dogs on plant community structure and composition. The poles are working (the red-tailed hawk pictured was hunting this week), and it will be interesting to see if there are any changes in the School's prairie community in the future.
Field ecology is a new science elective in the FVS curriculum. Utilizing the FVS prairie as a resource, the class integrates concepts of ecology, natural history and environmental science. As part of the School's focus on experiential education and the outdoors, students spend time collecting data in the field before returning to the classroom for analysis.
Mr. Rubenstein and his students hope to have preliminary data from their research soon.