On the trail

Oakland Tech Takes to the Woods

Students hit the trail in the Oakland Hills as part of a redwood field trip with Save the Redwoods League.

Students hit the trail in the Oakland Hills as part of a redwood field trip with Save the Redwoods League.

Last Friday, three school buses motored up into the Oakland Hills with 140 ninth graders from Oakland Tech High School. These students joined us to visit Chabot Space & Science Center and explore the coast redwood forest just beyond.

Despite the morning rainfall, these students worked with League Education Manager, Deborah Zierten, to measure the size of redwoods at Redwood Peak. They used tape measures to document the trunk diameters in this second-growth forest and estimate tree heights. They contemplated what factors in the environment influence redwood growth and wondered how recent drought will impact the forest.

Deborah orients the students to the woods.

Deborah orients the students to the woods.

They also joined me to Fern Watch – measure the height of the most common plant on the coast redwood forest floor, sword fern. They counted fronds, checked for leaf munching by pesky caterpillars, and marveled at how the sword ferns 200 miles north along the coast grow twice as tall.

Many of these students lived their entire lives in Oakland and yet had never traveled to this vibrant forest only a few miles from their urban homes. It was a privilege to guide these students through their first redwood field trip, let’s do it again!

Measuring ferns to understand how climate impacts the growth of these rain and fog-loving plants.

Measuring ferns to understand how climate impacts the growth of these rain and fog-loving plants.

Read about our field trip to Muir Woods with Berkeley High students during Bioblitz 2014 here.

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