River Bend Farm: An Ecological Assessment for The Ecology School
In the summer of 2018, The Ecology School partnered with Parula Consulting, LLC to conduct an ecological assessment of River Bend Farm focused on identifying and mapping natural communities. Parula Consulting, LLC is owned and operated by Andy Wood, a FOAMer who completed 4 terms during Spring/Fall 2012 and Spring/Fall 2013. Andy spent several days documenting the property’s ecological features on foot and captured images from a camera set up for 34 days. The final 58-page report provides an in-depth assessment with incredible facts about the land characteristics, plan and bird species as well as recommendations about best practices for community and student engagement activities to conserve the ecological integrity of the natural communities
Click here to read the full report.
Since 2009 we have been engaged in an Impact Study to measure the impacts of our multi-year and overnight programs on students and teachers and improve our programs. To conduct this study, we contracted with PEER Associates, a respected environmental and place-based educational research organization to design an evaluation system for our multi-year programs. Now, headed into the sixth year of evaluation work with PEER Associates, we continue to refine the evaluation tools used and expand the participants surveyed.
We designed our Logic Model (at right) at the beginning of our evaluation work. Logic Models describe the relationships between program inputs, activities, outcomes and impacts, and can help evaluate the effectiveness of extensive programs like ours.
In Fall of 2014 we embarked upon a “Most Significant Change” project, the last and final aspect of our six-year longitudinal evaluation. The process involved the collection of significant change stories by contacting and interviewing alumni who had engaged in our multi-year and residential programs. The MSC interviews included stories and memories from field experiences with The Ecology School, and sought to capture examples of growth and change experienced by students, teachers, parents and school administrators. We are looking forward to applying these findings to continue to improve our program and delivery systems.
The Outline of Preliminary Findings include all results from the student and teacher surveys, student concept maps, focus groups, and interview sessions with administrators, teachers and parents.