Course Descriptions


The World of Insects: Infinite Variety on a Common Theme

Cold Blooded Creatures: A Course in Field Herpetology

Biodiversity Blitz: From Ambystoma to Zygoptera

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The World of Insects: Infinite Variety on a Common Theme

Dr. Julian Stark, Associate Professor of Biology, CUNY/Queensborough Community College and Research Associate in Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History
In this class, students will be introduced to the fascinating world of insects. We will discuss how insects evolved, learn about their bizarre body parts and characteristics, survey the diversity of the different types, and explore how insects interact with other forest animals. The class balances time in the classroom with field investigations and laboratory work to analyze what was found in the field.  Collection techniques will include several types of traps which will be emptied and the data recorded over the course of the week.  We will also maintain live specimens in the lab for the duration of the class, to examine insect behavior in detail.  Students will learn how to collect, preserve, and identify (to Order) specimens, and will make a 10-20 specimen collection box to take home upon the completion of the class.  
July 12-16 Price: $375

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Cold Blooded Creatures: A Course in Field Herpetology

Arianna Kuhn, PhD candidate, City University of New York Graduate Center and Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History
Black Rock Forest, with its diverse habitats, is home to 34 different species of reptiles and amphibians. Students will apply field techniques used by biologists to find and catch reptiles and amphibians. In particular we will be setting drift fences in the forest and turtle traps in ponds. Ultimately students will learn how to identify the reptiles and amphibians of the forest using a dichotomous key, as well as learning about their ecology, behavior, and how to collect and analyze data for scientific research. Data that will be collected will include body measurements (e.g. shell measurements of turtles, body length of snakes, etc.), sex, location, and other important information at the time of capture. With this information students will be able to address questions about population demographics and habitat selection of the different reptile and amphibian species.
July 19-23 Price: $375


Biodiversity Blitz: From Ambystoma to Zygoptera

Dr. Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch, Senior Lecturer, Barnard College
Explore the forest to examine as many species as you can: reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, plants, mammals, fungi and more. Interesting creatures can turn up in unexpected places. Last summer over 300 species were identified and observed and we hope to beat that number this summer! We will hike in wetlands, stream ravines, ridge tops, meadows and the forest while examining the amazing biodiversity in this part of planet Earth. Students will participate in ongoing scientific research at the forest: surveying birds by sight and sound along an elevation transect; capturing, measuring, weighing, and releasing painted turtles for a turtle population study; and identifying and counting invertebrates in a deer exclusion experiment. Students will also engage in daily art projects and cook with wild edible forest fruits and ingredients from our local farm. Participants will leave with an understanding and appreciation of the forest ecosystem, training in plant and animal survey methods, and a clear vision of the benefits of biodiversity and how to protect it on a personal and global scale.

July 26 - 30 Price:$375  (back to top)