K-12 Stable Isotopes
In collaboration with Dr. David Nelson of the Appalachian Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, we've provided teachers in the central Appalachians with professional development opportunities and the chance to learn about environmental issues associated with wind energy development in our region. Most recently, Dr. Nelson hosted 2 local science teachers, John and Jennifer, in summer 2013. These teachers collected stable isotope data to help determine the geographic origins of birds in regions with wind energy development and of monarch butterflies. The teachers prepared lessons that they will implement in their classrooms in fall 2013. John's lesson for high school students is entitled "Forensic Sleuths use Stable Isotopes to Track Golden Eagles" and Jennifer's lesson for middle school students is entitled "Stable Isotopes as Geographic Indicators of Monarch Butterfly Origins". Both lessons focus on the use of stable isotopes to infer the origins of migratory organisms. John and Jennifer were able to complete this internship thanks to funding from the Race to the Top program and to Allegany County Public Schools.
Once our research data are published, we plan to make the lesson plans available online. Please email me if you would like a copy before then.