Students hiking at scenic Mosier Plateau during spring wildflower bloom (photo: Michael Horodyski)
Mosier Charter School Field DaysThis two-day program held at Friends’ Mosier Plateau land trust property seeks to educate and inspire Mosier Charter School seventh- and eighth-grade students through teachings on biodiversity. It also emphasizes the importance of stewardship work in the Gorge.
The program is a collaboration between the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust and the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, with volunteers from both organizations taking part. Special thanks goes to Friends volunteer, naturalist Ralph Thomas Rogers, who has played a prominent role in developing the program.
At Field Days, Mosier students learn about the importance of biodiversity in the flora and fauna of their surroundings. They also learn more about the place they live, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, including the Scenic Area’s functions and how organizations like Friends and land trusts play a role in the protection of Scenic Area resources.
On the first day, students visited four stations (wildflowers, reptiles, birds, and mammals) to familiarize themselves with Mosier Plateau. On the second day, students rotated among five stations to learn about plant diversity, including such activities as investigating the life forms utilizing a dead tree and measuring tree height. The goal was to observe with a more detailed lens, take measurements, and in general get them thinking about specifics of biodiversity and science.
Students were encouraged to lead themselves and figure out answers (or educated guesses) to questions in the provided handbook on their own without help from the leaders and teachers.
"Sharing the importance of being a steward of the land to younger generations is critical to the scenic area, the Pacific Northwest, and the world. Watching a student obsessively identify wildflowers made the entire outing worthwhile for me. If we can reach out to even a few students we’ve done our job.” - Sara Woods, Friends Land Stewardship Coordinator