LEEC Short Course Spotlight: Using Mobile Devices to Track Biodiversity in the School Yard and Habitat Restoration Areas

LEEC's 2019 Regional Short Course event is Saturday, February 16. Our aim is to bring environmental education professional development to communities all around the state. Classroom teachers, non-formal educators and anyone seeking a better understanding of environmental projects in their communities have a host of choices available at  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/2019-leec-regional-short-courses for the event. Today, we're spotlighting: Using Mobile Devices to Track Biodiversity in the School Yard and Habitat Restoration Areas  (Monroe Region) Combination Workshop and Tour.
Ecological Restoration is a key tool conservation biologists and natural resource managers use to create new habitat for plants and animals and to restore ecosystem services to people. To understand the impact of restoration and the success of those efforts, the changes in ecological communities need to be monitored over time.  These changes can be assessed by monitoring changes in the number and type of species of plants and animals found in the restoration area over time.
Our workshop and tour will involve a discussion of restoration, particularly of the Shortleaf Pine ecosystem, which is endangered in Louisiana.  We will tour Wafer Creek Ranch, which is one of the only Shortleaf Pine restoration projects in the state.  Teachers will acquire skills and knowledge about restoration and wildlife through learning about multiple restoration practices and active engagement in techniques used to monitor wildlife with an emphasis on how these can be employed in classroom activities. 
In particular, this workshop will emphasize biodiversity monitoring through iNaturalist, which  is a free citizen science app and web-based platform compatible with smart phones, tablets and computers. Through iNaturalist, users can take pictures of organisms and upload them to an online database to document plant and animal locations.  Organism identification occurs with the help of other iNaturalist users, and scientists worldwide can use the data collected. The techniques learned could be easily implemented to examine school-yard plants and animals.  Teachers will also leave the workshop with the tools and practice to incorporate an anchoring phenomena routine in line with science practices and the new Louisiana environmental and earth science standards.  
Photos: Carson Taylor Hall at Louisiana Tech University and shortleaf pine resortation.
Presenters: Julia Earl, Chris Campbell, Terri Maness and Natalie Clay, Louisiana Tech University 
Location: Carson Taylor Hall, Louisiana Tech University, 1 Adams Blvd, ​Ruston, LA 71272
Grade Level: 5th-8th, 9th-12th, College
Time: 9:00am to 4:30pm