Ecosystems and Plant Communities

Start Date
08/09/2018
End Date
08/23/2018
Description
Explore the dynamic and diverse plant communities present in our area. Learn how ecology, geology, hydrology, plants, and animals, all interact to create healthy ecosystems through classroom study and field trips. Understand the complexities of these communities and how to replicate similar plant associations in your home landscape. Enrich your learning with resources including the Flora of Delaware Online Database and A Guide to Delaware Vegetation Communities.

Wednesday August 9, 2018
Day 1 (4.75 Total PDH)
9:45 – 10:00 am: Registration
10:00 – 10:45 am: What is ecology? Define – House of Many (0.75 PDH)
[Interaction of living things (biotic) with their environment (abiotic)]
•What is an ecosystem (How, Where, Food webs, Why is your garden considered an ecosystem?)
10:45 – 11:15 am: Interconnectedness of land, plants and animals (including humans) in ecosystem development (0.5 PDH)
•Geology of Delaware (Piedmont and Coastal Plain)
•Influence of soils on ecosystems (plant species composition and diversity, i.e., well-drained vs. poorly drained, nutrient rich vs. nutrient poor)
•Role of hydrology in ecosystems
11:15 – 12:15 pm: Outdoor instruction in the Meadow and Ponds (1 PDH)
12:15 – 12:45 pm: Lunch break
12:45 - 1:45 pm: Communities and Habitats (1 PDH)
•Define and discuss plant communities and habitats
•Briefly describe Delaware’s major plant communities
•Key differences between shrubland and forest
•Key differences between a grassland and meadow
•Key differences between a marsh and swamp
•Define and discuss habitats/niches
•Common animals that use each community
1:45 – 2:30 pm: Succession (0.75 PDH)
•Order in which species appear in ecosystems over time
•Indicators of an ecosystem’s status along the continuum of succession
•What interferes with natural progression of succession
2:30 – 3:30 pm: Field trip to Mount Cuba sites (travel to Natural Lands) (15 minutes round trip: travel time) (0.75 PDH)
3:30 pm: Class dismissal

Wednesday August 16, 2018
Day 2 (5 Total PDH)
9:45 – 10:00 am: Registration
10:00 – 11:00 am: Presentation: A Tour of the Plant Communities and Flora of Delaware. (1 PDH)
Description of Delaware plant communities on a broad-scale with common native plants they support.
11:00 – 11:15 am: Travel to Piedmont sites (Brandywine Park)
11:15 – 12:15 pm: Visit forest, swamp and riparian communities (1 PDH)
12:15 – 12:45 pm: Lunch break
12:45 – 3:45 pm: Visit forest, swamp and riparian communities (3 PDH)
3:45 – 4:00 pm: Travel to Mt. Cuba Center
4:00 pm: Class dismissal

Wednesday August 23, 2018
Day 1 (4.75 Total PDH)
7:45 - 8:00 am: Check in at Mt. Cuba Center
8:00 - 10:00 am: Travel to Coastal Plain
10:00 - 1:00 pm: Visit Cape Henlopen (Atlantic coastal beaches, dunes, inner-dunes, maritime forest, maritime wetlands) (30 minutes for lunch included) (2.5 PDH)
1:00 - 1:30 pm: Travel Redden State Park
1:30 - 2:15 pm: Redden State Park - coastal plant seasonal pond (0.75 PDH)
2:15 - 2:45 pm: Travel to Woodland Beach Wildlife Area
2:45 - 3:30 pm: Visit Woodland Beach Wildlife Area (Coastal Plain rich-wood forest community) (0.75 PDH)
3:30 - 3:45 pm: Travel to Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Resource Education Center
3:45 - 4:30 pm: Walk through tidal marshes using the boardwalk (0.75 PDH)
4:30 - 5:45 pm: Travel back to Mt. Cuba Center
Location
Hockessin, DE
Distance Learning
No
Course Equivalency
No
Subjects
Horticulture / Plants
Sustainable Development & Design
Health, Safety and Welfare
Yes
Hours
14.50
Learning Outcomes
1. Learn how ecology, geology, hydrology, plants, and animals interact to create healthy ecosystems.

2. Understand the complexities of various plant communities, and how to replicate similar plant associations in the home landscape.

3. Explore Delaware plant communities on a broad-scale; see the common native plants they support.
Instructors
William McAvoy; Lynn Mahaffy
Website Registration
Course Codes
GAR305
Provider
Mt. Cuba Center


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