Earlier this year, High School North was awarded one of eleven $10,000-level grants as part of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grants Cycle, which is funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). With the grant money, an outdoor classroom was constructed, dubbed Setting the Stage for Outdoor Learning (S.S.O.L.). The area extends from the building to an enclosed courtyard via a student-constructed “boardwalk.”
Now, the school is putting the outdoor classroom to good use. Students from Ms. Huey's and Mr. Seiverd's classes conducted a BioBlitz in the courtyard area. The purpose of the BioBlitz was to assess biodiversity in the space. The BioBlitz will provide baseline data on diversity prior to native species being planted.
To conduct the BioBlitz, students used quadrants to identify and estimate the number of species, which in turn determines the biodiversity on campus. Biodiversity is defined as the amount of variety of life on Earth. Healthy ecosystems increase ecosystem productivity and each species in an ecosystem has a specific niche—a role to play. Biodiversity supports a larger number of plant species and, therefore, a greater variety of crops.
This event was conducted with the help of project partners Barnegat Bay Partnership and the Ocean County Parks.