By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “OCI 2013 – Landscapes – Past and Present” is the theme for this year’s Outdoor Classroom Institute (OCI) June 17-21 at Clay Hill Memorial Forest (CHMF), 7426 Old Lebanon Road, Campbellsville, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily.
The Outdoor Classroom Institute is an outreach provided annually by the staff of Clay Hill Memorial Forest (CHMF) and the faculty of Division of Natural Science of Campbellsville University with funding from Kentucky Utilities.
The OCI Program serves teachers in central Kentucky, an area with few opportunities for continuing science education.
Brenda Tungate, associate professor of biology, who serves as director of the OCI, said, “Our goal is to enhance science teaching in this region. We attempt to do this by increasing science content knowledge, improving environmental awareness, acquainting teachers with non-professional educators, enhancing teacher awareness of and familiarity with CHMF and the services it can provide and developing teacher networks.”
Registration is currently under way. Registration forms and information can be obtained from the CHMF website www.clayhillforest.org or by contacting Tungate, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s OCI will feature Eric Schlarb, staff archaeologist with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey in Lexington; Dr. Chris Groves, distinguished university professor of geography at Western Kentucky University and director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute there; and Dr. Julian Campbell, noted plant community ecologist from London, England.
Each speaker will have a specific day to give his presentation.
Schlarb will dig into the archeaeology of CHMF. Following some introductory remarks on Monday afternoon, Tuesday will be spent in the field where participants will obtain hands-on experience with archeological techniques.
Schlarb’s primary research interests include lithic technology (how stone tools were made and used) and experimental archaeology, as well as the Archaic and Woodland periods of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. He is coauthor of educational publications “Prehistoric Hunter Gatherers: Kentucky’s First Pioneers” and “Adena: Woodland Period Mound Builders of the Bluegrass.”
Schlarb is a certified facilitator for “Project Archaeology,” and he has been active with Kentucky’s teachers and students for the past 16 years.
Groves, internationally respected geologist, will peel away the layers of geologic history of the region, and participants will learn how to read and interpret the geologic landscape from his presentation and hands-on activities.
Since receiving a Ph.D. in environmental sciences at the University of Virginia in 1993, Groves has developed an active international research program in basic and applied hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources, with a special emphasis on understanding water resources issues in rural southwest China.
He serves as a co-leader of the United Nations Scientific Program “Environmental Change and Sustainability in Karst Systems,” and as a member of the Governing Board of the International Research Center on Karst under the auspices of UNESCO.
In 2013, he was nominated by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources for the People’s Republic of China Friendship Award, that nation’s highest award for foreign experts.
Closer to home and between teaching classes, Groves works actively in research and education programs at Mammoth Cave National Park and the Crumps Cave Education and Research Preserve, and serves on the board of trustees for the Kentucky Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Beginning Wednesday afternoon, Campbell will share his knowledge of physical landscapes with emphasis on plant community types, plant ecology and conservation.
Campbell’s introduction to Kentucky plant communities will be followed by a field trip on Thursday to a variety of physiographic regions including a dissected calcareous plain at CHMF, a Leached Cherty Section of Pennyrile Karst Plain (PKP) in north Green/west Taylor County, a regular Cherty Section of PKP; a roadside grassland remnant, Dripping Springs Hills, Hundred Acre Pond and Aiken Tract.
Campbell is a botanist and plant ecologist from London, England, who has lived in Kentucky since the 1970s. Together with Max Medley, formerly at University of Louisville), he has drafted an Atlas of the Vascular Plants for Kentucky (see bluegrasswoodland.com). He has produced several technical reports for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Daniel Boone National Forest and the National Park Service, mostly while employed by TNC.
He is a consultant in botany, ecology and conservation, working mostly in Kentucky but with special interests also in central Tennessee and the blackbelt of Mississippi. He continues to review the taxonomy of difficult groups, with frequent visits to herbaria of east-central states and has initiated a gradual effort to outline natural history, landscape ecology and conservation planning for the Ohio Valley. This effort is designed to become a series of pamphlets or booklets for educational and technical use, available from his website.
On Friday, teacher-participants will present lessons that they have designed from the material presented throughout the week.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.