(Morris County, NJ–April 30, 2019) Twenty-four of High Tech’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science seniors participated in a field experience at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.
Led by instructors Dr. Shelly Witham, William Goold, and Dr. David Cincotta, this field experience, funded by a generous donation from the HCST Foundation, involved a visit to the 73-acre Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) Conservation Management Area, which surrounds the Silver Brook, a tributary of the Great Brook in the headwaters of the Passaic River. Protected by the GSWA, this area, part of the Federal National Wildlife Refuge system, has been monitored by staff from the Refuge who oversee the water and steward the land, which includes many endangered species, to ensure habitat for wildlife and places for people to recreate.
The students participated in the monitoring of the protected lands by undertaking the following field experience:
Field Study 1 (Water Quality): students used visual, chemical, and potentially biological quantitative assessments to determine the water quality and health of the stream.
Field Study 2 (Soil Analysis): students conducted a soil site analysis by looking at a variety of soil assessment techniques, including examining soil strata via a soil core sample and analyzing the type of soil through “key to soil texture by feel,” as well as determining soil type by use of color analysis.
Field Study 3 (Habitat Survey): using the tools of the field ecologist (binoculars and strong observation), students observed flora and fauna present on the site and surveyed whether all trophic levels were present and that the habitat possesses all the component layers of a fully functional meadow, swamp, or forest.