Abby Wood on left with students.

April 10, 2018…Cape Cod Academy (CCA) Science Department Chair, Abby Wood, has been selected to participate in Ecology Project International (EPI)’s Teacher Fellowship to Yellowstone National Park. Abby is one of 12 teacher fellows chosen from around the country to participate in the EPI’s Teacher Fellowship to Yellowstone.
The fellowship is an eight-day (April 7-14) intensive course in inquiry-based teaching methods through hands-on learning initiatives and field research. EPI fellowship courses are set in ecologically sensitive and biodiverse locations in Yellowstone, Costa Rica, and Mexico, where the intensity of natural systems and the complex human interactions within them are observable as part of one, interrelated system. EPI’s fellowship locations help model the importance of using authentic life experiences to teach science.
Abby’s selection for a hands-on, field-based learning opportunity of her own is fitting given the way she has led the CCA Science Department to develop more field research and inquiry methods throughout its K-12 science classes in the last three years. Headmaster Tom Trigg said, “Twenty-five percent of our graduates last year intended to major in a hard science in college. I think this reflects the way Abby and her science colleagues bring science to life and teach students that they can make a difference in the world through scientific problem-solving.”
“I have taught different aspects of environmental science and ecology in the past, but all of my own field research has been around topics in marine biology,” said Abby. “I was excited for this opportunity to expand my field research experience to terrestrial topics that I can ultimately teach my students about in an engaging and motivating way.”
As part of the field work in Yellowstone National Park, Abby will be snowshoeing across the snowpack to explore some of the region’s pristine terrain. One of the field research projects she will be doing is looking at how bison have taken over as the Park’s dominant grazing force and what that means for the native plants of the area. Her team will collect data on how bison interact with other ungulate species native to Yellowstone, such as elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and mule deer to share the landscape as they forage for food and water and search for protection from predators. In addition, they will be observing and learning about wolf packs with members of the Yellowstone Wolf Project as they learn about their impacts on the ecosystem since their reintroduction in 1995. Lastly, she will be learning about how the geology and thermal features of the area impact Yellowstone biology as they travel to The Mammoth Terraces and Chico Hot Springs.
Abby was recruited to the CCA faculty in 2015. She teaches Life Science, Biology and Coastal & Marine Science and oversees the Science Internship Program that provides CCA students opportunities for at least 24 hours of direct contact with a mentor scientist during which the student is observing and assisting the scientist in his or her applied science work.
Cape Cod Academy is a K through 12 independent day school in Osterville, MA

Author: Mashpee Chamber of Commerce

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