Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Primary Contact: Christine Beekman
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504
Partner School: Southern Oregon University
Educational Partners: Southern Oregon University Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
For seven weeks each fall, CSNM is host to the "Fall in the Field" (FitF) program. FitF provides area students an opportunity to learn science in their backyard national monument. FitF is designed and delivered by Southern Oregon University graduate program in Environmental Education's students. FitF is their capstone program, culminating more than 12 months of coursework and preparation.
Through an assistance agreement with the BLM, each graduate student cohort designs and develops each fall's theme and program focus. The BLM provides program funding and substantial program assistant by the monument's Interpretive Specialist position.
The Fall in the Field program is the capstone project for graduate students in Southern Oregon University's graduate program in Environmental Education. Each year, graduate students prepare, design and present the program. This includes lesson plan development, marketing the program to area schools, and business/managerial components.
In 2016, Fall in the Field served more than 700 local students K-12. About 35% of the students served were from Title One school programs representing underserved audiences in the local commuting area. Most of the classes that came out for field trips were elementary but there were a few high school and a few middle school classes as well. Parents, teachers aides, classroom teachers and others accompanied the students.
All program lessons were taken from the Oregon State science curriculum and were aligned with Next Generation standards. Since the monument was set side for its biological diversity, all hands-on activities were science-based. The graduate students also take a minimum of 24 credits in "hard" science classes so content for the FitF activities is robust.
In January 2017 the monument was expanded by more than 47,000 acres amid an outcry of supporters and non-supporters. A hot topic for this upcoming FitF program would be this expansion. While the program will NOT address political subjects, it represents an ideal opportunity to get students and their parents/relatives out on their local public lands.
Part of the debate over monument expansion is the notion of "Federal overreach" which oftentimes includes falsehoods. One such falsehood would be that there is no fishing or hunting allowed in the monument - they are both activities that are allowed. Oftentimes students have the opportunity to ask questions during their field experience that they might be otherwise. This is an opportunity for program instructors to provide accurate information to the student and perhaps their parents!
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was designated primarily for its remarkable biological diversity. Situated between the Cascades, Siskiyou and Klamath mountain ranges, a wide variety of plants and animals call the monument home. When the monument was first designated in 1990, the issue of climate change was barely on the radar screen. Climate change currently poses significant threats to ecosystems. The monument, with its expanded boundaries, allows for greater connectivity of the land and will allow for greater adaptability of species.
The Fall in the Field program creates its curriculum to meet both Next Generation standards and STEM standards wherever appropriate. The graduate students, when creating activities, thoughtfully integrated practices and applications of these standards. Because the grad students are taking graduate classes in both science (e.g. botany, entomology, herpetology) and education (e.g. educational psychology, teaching science), they actively incorporate best practices from their coursework and from the textbook standards.
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Last Updated: 03/25/2017