Beyond Four Walls: A Journey of Teaching in the Outdoors through AmeriCorps

On a warm September day in 2021, a few short weeks after starting my position as an AmeriCorps outdoor educator, I found myself in the middle of the woods with a class of fourth graders on a field trip. I stood there as we were eating lunch, reflecting on how exactly this all happened.

The Birding Cup Is Back!

All told, 109 birders, forming 30 teams, counted 235 unique species across the United States and Kenya. Whether these individuals were celebrating over two decades of participation or were picking up binoculars for the first time, everyone generously gave an entire day to raise money!

What’s with the Avian Flu?

A new strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) called H5N1 was identified in migrating waterfowl earlier this year. This strain of avian influenza started on the East Coast and is now spreading throughout the Midwest from bird to bird, through contact with defecates or consumption of infected individuals.

A Message from the Heartwood

At Outdoor School (ODS), we use wood cookies for name tags. Our names are on one side, sometimes with a picture or other decorative elements, and on the other side is the ODS symbol — the Earth with four triangles, representing the four cardinal directions and the four major lessons we teach during the week.

Eastern Box Turtles: a Declining Gem of Eastern Forests

In early May, I visited sites throughout Pennsylvania’s forested land to investigate the presence of Eastern Box Turtles. One of the goals of my summer research project with Dr. Julian Avery at Penn State was to collect data on populations that can be used to guide habitat management.

Cole Farm

Cole Farm is a site that Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) uses to extrapolate data to better understand the whole watershed. There is also interdisciplinary work being done at Cole Farm that is valuable to our understanding of the critical zone.