COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.

Snow Science at Otter Brook Farm

February 23, 2015
Otter Brook Farm manager Bryn Dumas shows off a graduated cylinder filled with melted snow. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Otter Brook Farm manager Bryn Dumas displays a graduated cylinder filled with melted snow.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Each month from September through May, 8th graders from the ConVal school district work together with Harris Center naturalist Laurel Swope-Brush, ecologist Dr. Rick Van de Poll, and Otter Brook Farm manager Bryn Dumas to conduct field studies at the Otter Brook Farm property in Peterborough and Greenfield.

For their February visit, the students conducted a “snow math” investigation of four different woodland habitats, measuring snow depth and water content at each site. To calculate the water content of the snow, the students took core samples of the snowpack, which were melted down and poured into graduated cylinders for precise measurement. In class, the students related these snow pack measurements to winter wildlife habitat preferences, and discussed how measuring snow depth and water content can help us quantify the potential volume of spring snow melt into our ground and surface waters.

They couldn’t have picked a better month: while the students compile their data, we will continue to shovel, rake, and plow!