Kids on mountaintop

Fall in the Field

From the Winter 2018 Hands on the Land Newsletter

The Fall in the Field (FitF) program provides southwestern Oregon K-12 public education students with curriculum-based science education opportunities in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). FitF is a partnership program between CSNM, Southern Oregon University (SOU) Masters in Environmental Education program, and the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Each year students come to the monument to learn about its unique biodiversity through hands-on educational activities.

Instructors and students at Fall in the Field in Oregon

FitF is the capstone project for SOU’s Master’s in Environmental Education program. Each graduate student cohort spends a year building the FitF program from the ground up. Each cohort researches, prepares and presents lesson plans for varying age groups. The cohort develops and tracks a marketing strategy and a program budget. CSNM and its Friends Group provides much of the funding for the program through a cooperative agreement.

The FitF program had a banner year in 2017. More than 1,000 southwestern Oregon students, parents, and chaperones were served. The program theme was Exploring Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and Discovering CSNM’s Unique Biodiversity. Here’s how the 2017 FitF numbers break down:

Students in nine K-2 grade classes explored and observed the range of habitats in CSNM and discovered how habitats influence species diversity. A whopping twenty-eight 3-5 grade classes solved “Nature’s Mysteries” as they hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail. They dissected Speckled Oak Galls and immersed themselves in the world of the Pileated Woodpecker. Four 6-8 grade classes used data collection methods to discover how abiotic and biotic factors influence ecosystems. They were challenged on the trail to identify four different ecosystems and examine how this influences CSNM biodiversity. Three 9-12 grade classes took on the role of either a rancher, a wildlife biologist, or a forester and used data collection methods to explore the issues of land-use debates and conservation of resources. Students were challenged to develop their own land ethic as they learned about biodiversity in the region.

Morgyn with kids on a hike

Through the FitF program local students, along with their parents, teachers, and chaperones are immersed in the special surroundings of their backyard national monument. Hands-on activities allow students to explore and ask questions about the plant and animal life around them, and appreciate the natural beauty of their home.

Contact Information
Christine M. Beekman, Interpretive Specialist, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Medford District BLM
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504