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Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Project in Virginia

Two Eld's Deer at the CRC
Students Measuring and Recording Tree Trunk Diameters

Since 1998, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) has worked closely with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Education (VDOE) in the development and implementation of an innovative science education program, the Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Project, that utilizes SCBI scientists, staff and training techniques as an educational resource for Virginia schools.

The Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Project is designed to provide Virginia teachers with the skills and tools needed to teach the scientific principles of biodiversity monitoring using a local forest, woods or parkland as a living ecosystem laboratory. The curriculum has been correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs), particularly in math and science, and covers ecology, identifying and classifying species, assessing change in forests over time, understanding the impact of human disturbances and understanding how technology, including remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS), contribute to the study of an ever-changing planet.

Virginia educators have been unstinting in their praise of the program as an effective means of teaching science and related subjects to their students.

Study with Smithsonian scientists at the CRC, recognized around the world for its cutting-edge conservation research and professional training programs.

During two three-day workshops, Virginia teachers will utilize protocols developed for official Smithsonian biodiversity monitoring programs worldwide. Instruction includes how to establish a school biodiversity plot, measure and map tree species in that plot, manage data and conduct statistical analysis using Smithsonian protocols, interpret and use remote sensing images (including your school site), and perform experiments with your students to test theories about local and global biodiversity trends.