Toomer Elementary teacher joins mammal research team with Earthwatch Institute

Megan Dosmann, a first-grade teacher at Toomer Elementary School, joined an Earthwatch Institute research team for a 13-day expedition in Nova Scotia to help scientists understand how the mammals of Nova Scotia are affected by climate change. Megan’s expedition was sponsored by a grant from HSBC in the Community (USA) Inc. From March 13 – 27, Megan joined four other Earthwatch volunteers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan for the “Mammals of Nova Scotia” project. Two of the volunteers were teachers also sponsored through the Live From the Field Fellowship. The research team was led by Dr. Chris Newman and Dr. Christina Buesching of Oxford University.

“I came home from my Earthwatch expedition feeling a whole new sense of connection to the natural world, a fresh understanding of climate change and the need to act now, and a renewed enthusiasm for the way I teach science to my students,” said Dosmann.

According to Earthwatch, “Nova Scotia’s ecological diversity is a product of delicately balanced environmental conditions, and these are vulnerable to the rapid changes expected with global warming. Doctors Christina Buesching and Chris Newman explore how Nova Scotia’s wilderness ecosystem is being affected by climate change, and help understand the implications for forestry, hunting, and tourism so vital to the local economy.”

The Earthwatch volunteers used mammal monitoring techniques including trapping small mammals using Longworth traps and camera traps, field sign transects and dropping count quadrats. They also visited an organic tree farm and Kejimkujik National Park.

“I never imagined I would take part in real climate science data collection like a real scientist,” said Dosmann. “I was thrilled to capture video and pictures of the small mammals we trapped for part of the study, too. Blogging and video chatting with my students throughout the expedition brought them along for the experience as well. They had the opportunity to see real scientists in action. I can’t wait to integrate it all into my class and see how the students respond!”

Earthwatch (www.earthwatch.org), the world’s largest environmental nonprofit volunteer organization, is based in Metro Boston. Its mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Since its founding in 1971, the organization has supported nearly 1,360 projects in 120 countries and 36 states. More than 93,000 volunteers have contributed $72 million to scientific fieldwork.

Read more about Ms. Dosmann’s expedition in Nova Scotia here: http://www.earthwatch.org/exped/buesching.html

Ms. Dosmann’s blog is available at: http://www.earthwatch2.org/LFF/Dosmann

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