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LEAF Anthology

Natural Cities: Harbor Field Guide Project

Students investigate an urban waterway and design field guides for use in the community.

Harbor Field Guide Project
Contributed By
: Melissa Dowd, New York Harbor School

In this project, students create a field guide to their local waterway that serves as a tool with practical applications both for the school and the local community.

In the field class at Harbor School, students have many opportunities for field investigations in which they observe many of the organisms featured in the proposed field guide. They have opportunities to trawl, seine and collect the organisms during field days of sailing, rowing or wading in various bodies of water in the New York Harbor Estuary.

Although it may not be feasible for you to do these activities with your students, the field work component is strongly recommended to get students outside and connected with local ecology. Possible field work activities include the collection of species, photo journaling, sketch journaling and the use of established field guides/dichotomous keys and water quality testing.

Dissemination to the community may take the form of presenting the field guide to other classes in the school district, at a town meeting or as a PSA. If the field guide is published, it could be accessible online to other members of the community and/or printed for use within the school and elsewhere, depending on interest.

Download the lesson.

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