Dorfman/Hays Grant Proposal
Submitted by Susan Dorfman and Tiffany Hays, Brain and Behavior Institute, 2006
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was established in 1934 by Rosalie Edge to protect migratory raptors on their flyway is eastern Pennsylvania as they migrate from Canada and New England through to Georgia and then to Tropical America. In eastern Pennsylvania, the prevailing winds create air currents perfect for the soaring raptors during their Fall migration. Rosalie Edge, an avid birder and pioneering conservationist, was aware of the slaughter of 1,000’s of hawks by hunters on the slopes of Hawk Mountain. She leased and then purchased a two square mile area and hired Maurice Broun, a conservationist, to act as warden to protect the Sanctuary and the hawks.
Our goal is to introduce students in our Upper School Environmental Science and AP Biology classes to this sanctuary to witness the beauty of the mountain, the surrounding valleys, and the soaring raptors and to acknowledge how change can be effected by one person. The proposed trip to Hawk Mountain is also an opportunity for students to create their own stories from direct and personal observations gleaned as they hike to the North Lookout of Hawk Mountain at an elevation of 1,521 feet. More than from a book or internet search, students can develop directly,
- a sense of the phenomena of migration
- the importance of conservation efforts that protect flyways
- motivation to learn more about the adaptations of migratory birds and the importance of raptors to the ecology.
Through journaling and question/answer sessions, the students will be able to share their observations, interpretations and stories with each other. Students in each class will focus on different aspects of the experience we will share.
Advanced Environmental Science is a Grade XII elective taught by Tiffany Hays. Students in this course will direct some of their observations and journal entries upon the following input from their teacher.
The study of environmental science is inherently an exercise in creating stories about the world in which we live. This world is an interpretation of what the human brain observes in the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, as aptly named by scientists. Observations of the land and the animals, the water and the air, the natural processes and anthropogenic effects enable students to tell their own stories about the environment.
Several ideas from which to start:
- Journal about connections between lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, based on observations made during visit. Give at least 2 detailed examples.
- Identify various constituents in the localized area (Hawk Mountain). Create story of these communities’ interactions and effects on a specific type of environmental policy.
- Identify native and nonnative plant species. Tell a story about the effect of a changing ecosystem on the migratory patterns of the birds.
Advanced Placement Biology is a Grade XII elective taught by Susan Dorfman. Students in this course will direct some of their observations and journal entries upon the following input from their teacher.
Organismal ecology encompasses physiological ecology, evolutionary ecology, and behavioral ecology. It involves observations of how an animal’s structure, physiology, and behavior evolve to allow the animal to successfully meet the challenges posed by its environment. Both through observation and post-trip search using your textbook, its online links, and information supplied by Hawk Mountain, answer the following questions:
- What anatomical features of birds in general and raptors in particular contribute to their ability to migrate? Find at least four anatomical features to include in your discussion.
- What physiological features of raptors contribute to their ability to migrate? Include at least two organ systems in your discussion.
- Migration has risks and costs for the birds. Death due to bad weather, collisions with tall, human generated structures, and human sport predation along the migratory route take a heavy toll on the population. The phenomena of migration evolved because the benefits outweighed the cost of a roughly 50% mortality rate among all migratory birds. Describes the benefits of migration in terms of Darwinian adaptation.
- Raptors are predators. What is the importance of predation as a biotic influence in population? What is the prey of raptors? Why is this important to humans? What would result from decimation of raptor populations?
The total cost of the trip to Hawk Mountain will be borne by the students. Although the trail fee is minimal, $4 per person, the cost of a small, 32-passenger, school bus is not at $800 for the day-trip. Travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours each way. Therefore, Tiffany Hays and Susan Dorfman request that their individual grants of $200 be combined. The total grant award of $400 will be applied to defray the cost of the bus.