e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Teachers Take Lessons from Onondaga Lake

Professional development symposium benefits teachers and their students

Hands-on-learning and scientific observation were key components at a professional development day held for high school teachers in the ESF in the High School program.

The ESF in the High School Teacher Professional Development Symposium was hosted by ESF Outreach at Willow Bay Park in Liverpool June 23.

"Such events provide an opportunity for teachers to develop content for courses and generate excitement about science," said Dr. Richard Beal, assistant dean of educational outreach at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Professional development events held throughout the year help ESF in the High School teachers broaden their knowledge base and share lesson plans and teaching outcomes with one another to better serve their students.

The June program included a presentation by graduate student Matt Brincka titled Onondaga Lake and Its Aquatic Ecosystems. Participants analyzed fish biodiversity within Onondaga Lake, using a net to pull a variety of fish species out of the water to be surveyed. This was followed by a discussion about fish identification and characteristics, and changes in fish populations inhabiting the lake over time. Such topics enrich and shape future content for ESF in the High School courses, providing teachers with hands-on activities for student involvement.

Additional presentations included History of Pollution at Onondaga Lake by Mike Spada, a research scientist with Upstate Freshwater Institute; an Onondaga Lake mapping activity directed by Sarah Wraight, a staff writer with the Onondaga Environmental Institute; and Introduction to Green Infrastructure in CNY by graduate students Michelle Molloy and Nathan Ogdahl and undergraduate student Michelle Meyer. The program concluded with a tour of 515 Tully St. in Syracuse, the site of a residential rain garden, miniature demonstration green roof, two rain barrels, and porous paving.

Dawn Adams, a global environment instructor from Pavilion High School, won a rain barrel following a quiz at the program's conclusion. Adams said she plans to bring the rain barrel to her high school to show her students and hopes to install it on the school's campus.

ESF Outreach is home to a range of professional development programs, each drawing on the undergraduate and graduate educational and research experience of college faculty, students and staff, as well as professionals from a variety of local and state organizations.