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Introduction to Cambridge Public School Activities on the Alewife Reservation Added to website December 6, 2009

Introduction to Cambridge Public School Activities on the Alewife Reservation

Susan Agger, FAR Board member, has been active on the Reservation as part of the Cambridge Public Schools at the Maynard Ecology Center which she directs. She has worked closely with Audubon to bring 3rd graders to the Reservation this year, FAR has been working hard to lay the groundwork for such programs, and we are very pleased that they have begun with young children. Last year, FAR worked closely with the City youth to provide maximum information and interest, because FAR members know the area best, and are continually assessing it for new species and habitat matters and serious changes, both positive and negative.

See Link for last year's program:

CPS Third Grade Habitats Study at the Alewife Reservation

During the past five years, Cambridge Public Schools Science Department staff, teachers and students have worked in partnership with Mass Audubon staff from Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary to enhance the third grade Habitats science curriculum through a grant called Nature in the City: Three Urban Habitats. This year, the program was expanded and offered to all Cambridge Public Schools third grades with funding from Amgen. The program partnership includes five learning experiences in support of the Cambridge Habitats science curriculum. Through two field experiences and an in class introduction to habitat study, Audubon staff help students to understand important elements of a habitat, specific structures of organisms, animal basic needs and why organisms are able to survive in some places and not in others. Using familiar locations such as schoolyard or local parks, and local open spaces, students discover life they may not have seen before. The Alewife Reservation is one of the urban sites often utilized for this purpose.

Between September and November 2009, 160 third grade students from three Cambridge Public Schools visited the Alewife Reservation accompanied by Audubon staff to observe and note natural elements as well as man-made elements and to observe the variety and abundance of life there. In small groups, students searched for insects using sweep nets, observed life in and around the Little River, surveyed plants and used binoculars to search for and observe local birds. At each of these sites students were asked to document the organisms they found through observational drawings. Cambridge students will continue to utilize the Alewife Reservation as a valuable urban wild habitat for study this spring when the remaining third grade students participate in the Nature in the City grant program.

Susan Agger
Coordinator, CPS Maynard Ecology Center
(617) 349-6391