|PROFESSOR HOSTS VIRTUAL CLASSES ON TRUST LAND DURING QUARANTINE
Biologist studies rare lichens at Chancellor Ranch
Students, teachers, and families are adjusting to virtual classrooms during the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines. In particular, how do teachers offer science classes that would otherwise include hands-on experiments or field work?
Erin Tripp, assistant professor at the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, had an innovative solution to host virtual field lessons for her biology students on state trust land.
While hosting her virtual lessons from Chancellor Ranch in Las Animas County, Tripp studied rare lichen communities along the Purgatoire and Perly canyon escarpments (pictured right). The lichens have special micro-climates, including one or two that support small, disjunctive populations of aspen at relatively low elevations.
“Being able to include rare lichen biota on state trust lands in a short series of educational films gave my students an especially meaningful, online ‘field’ experience when COVID-19 stay-in-place restrictions prevented them from going into the field,” said Tripp.
Upon request, Colorado trust land is available for educational and research activities. FFA and 4H groups visit properties regularly, and past research partners include CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, the Nature Conservancy, Colorado Herbarium, Denver Botanic Gardens, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and more.
Watch a 90-second tutorial about lichens that Professor Tripp filmed at Chancellor Ranch: