"Mount Auburn is currently partnering with Lesley University thanks to a collaborative two-year grant from the A.J. & M.D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust, to assess the current state of the Cemetery as a wildlife habitat, implement new improvements, and create new opportunities for engaging people on the subject. Already, Lesley researchers have set up studies on site to collect and analyze data on pollinators, ants, bats, birds, air, and water, building upon work that Mount Auburn staff and other consultants have already started here in recent years. A team of educators, in turn, are creating and examining new programs and lessons for student groups based on both these new studies and previously implemented projects from the Cemetery’s Wildlife Action Plan" (Moir, 2017, par. 1)
Check out how families, educators, and classrooms all take part in citizen science at the cemetery!
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Lesley Professor, and WonderLab Director Susan Rauchwerk discusses the details of the partnership.
Learn more about the details of the partnership and how it supports the cemetery's Wildlife Action Plan.
WonderLab Students visit the cemetery throughout the semester for field trips both with and without graduate student classes. Activities have included, pond studies, tree and plant identification, orienteering, and more. The WonderLab Community is also invited to attend partnership sponsored events such as Family Research Night. During Family Research Nights, Lesley Professors and Mount Auburn Researchers demonstrate and discuss their research with participants.
Throughout the academic year of 2017-18, WonderLab traveled to the cemetery to teach environmental science, engage in hand on explorations, participate in play based learning, and conduct individual arts based research projects. The following features outline lesson plans, include photos, and suggestions for utilizing this important green space.
Check out our arts based exploration of the Mount Auburn Cemetery and learn how you can chose a local greenspace to inspire indepth scientific exploration and artistic representations.
What do we learn about the health of a water body by what's in and around it? Plus check out what a blast we have collecting macroinvertabrate samples!
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) - the A hold equal importance to WonderLab in how we investigate and represent our topic of study. The Spring 2018 staff used the Mount Auburn Cemetery to inspire a long term project in which students:
Below is an image collage of the process including field research, gallery visits, and multi-day art/dance studio work.
WonderLab artists displayed their work at Lesley University. Families, friends, and Lesley faculty were all invited to look at all of the hard work the researchers had put into their projects.
Project themes ranged from animal specific projects (Red Tail Hawks and Bees) to projects that looked at broader topics such as what plants are in bloom during the different seasons at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Students represented their research through many different mediums; painting, sculptures, drawings, 3D representations, songs, PowerPoint presentations, plays, dances, and short videos.
Pond studies are a highlight of WonderLab programming as it offers a chance for students to be exposed to different field tools, protocols, and the diversity of life within an aquatic habitat.
Each pond study takes place at Consecration Dell, Halcyon Lake, or Auburn Lake at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Students explore both biological and chemical characteristics of the water body. By taking pH and temperature samples of the water, students are able to practice what we've done at Lesley to determine the health of a water body and whether or not it can support life based on it's acidity and temperature.
The highlight of each pond study is collecting macroinvertabrates with nets and tubs. Once students collect samples they tried to I.D. the critters and determine if they were pollution tolerant or not! These exploration inspired many art projects all year.