HAVE YOU HEARD? MANY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES USE OREGON RIDGE PARK FOR TEACHING AND RESEARCH
Oregon Ridge Park’s forest, streams, meadows and wetlands serve as outdoor classrooms for many colleges and universities, including Towson University, University of Maryland College Park, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University of Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University, and Dickinson College (PA), as well as many out-of-state Colleges and Universities. The next generation of scientists, teachers and other leaders learn through hands-on activities at the Park. Oregon Ridge Nature Center also hosts between 1 and 5 college interns each semester and in the summer, from many different institutions including many out-of-state Colleges and Universities. These interns pursue degrees in Environmental Science, Environmental Education, Wildlife Biology and other related fields.
Towson University. Students in Ecosystem Ecology, Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, Hydrogeology, General Ecology, Animal Form and Function, and Limnology all spend time at the park. They take notes and measurements on the six main subsystems: forest ridgetop, forest slope, field, lake, stream, and wetland. They also study the populations of praying mantises, chironomids (non-biting midges), milkweed, and others, as well as the results of USGS monitoring.
UMBC. Students in Geography & Environmental Systems and Forest Ecology identify plant species and compare different forest types and their soil/landform associations. Students contrast the impact of differences in slope direction and soil pH on xeric and mesic plant species in the Piedmont Oak-Hickory woodlands and floodplain.
Johns Hopkins University. Students visit the Park regularly to learn about the forest ecosystem. JHU encourages Naturalist internships at the Park’s Nature Center.
Loyola University of Maryland. Students in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity learn ecological concepts and data collection techniques, such as leaf litter sampling and sweep-netting in milkweed patches.
Notre Dame of Maryland University. Students in Biology gather and analyze data, observing the impact of human actions on ecosystem health and experiencing firsthand how scientists work. https://www.ndm.edu/news-and-events/news/chesapeake-bay-course-gives-students-hands-education-1
Dickinson University. In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Towson University, Dickinson carries out 2-week training sessions with students traditionally underrepresented in earth science. The students discover the basics of geophysics, leading some to modify their career goals to focus on scientific research.
National agencies have important scientific projects at the Park as well.
Many universities and government agencies use data collected by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) from monitoring sites on Baisman Run and the Pond Branch watershed. These are important reference sites for comparing the hydrology and water quality of a largely forested park ecosystem with watersheds under other environmental conditions. (https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70200650)
Oregon Ridge Park is included in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program. To access the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, please visit https://baltimoreecosystemstudy.org/
It is by these direct experiences at Oregon Ridge Park, that many organizations offer unique and valuable experiences to our next generation of leaders, teachers, scientists, and decision-makers.
This is our chance to encourage Baltimore County to conserve the ecosystems at the Oregon Ridge Park, so we may continue to provide nature’s classrooms for university-level education and research. Please take a moment and email the Master Plan Consultant and County Leadership below to express your support for conserving our park lands.
Oregon Ridge Nature Center offers many educational programs for people of all ages. Please visit our website for more information and to register: https://oregonridgenaturecenter.wildapricot.org/