Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School (JGEMS) is a public charter school serving grades six through eight that focuses on environmental science and community service. It is housed in the same building as the Oregon School for the Deaf in Salem, Oregon, and is named after English primatologist Jane Goodall. It is part of the Salem-Keizer School District.
Advancing ARMI: In Search for Chytrid Fungus
Sylvia Earle: How to protect the oceans (TED Prize winner!)
Practice 3 - Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
[Intro Music begins: Basson, Hall of the Mountain Kings, Classical One and Only] OPENING CREDITS: “What I’m studying is an amphibian disease called ‘amphibian chytrid fungus.’” “Where do you go to school?” “JGEMS, the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School.” “Their populations are declining and they’re at risk.” “And where do you go to school, Brody?” “The Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School.” “So what’s your favorite species so far?” “Northwestern Salamanders” “Where do you go to school?” “JGEMS, Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School.” “And then we are going to check traps that I set out that will hopefully have some amphibians in it” “Where do you go to school?” “JGEMS, the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School.” [Tara Chestnut] We are at Pintail Marsh at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. And, we were introduced to the student researchers from Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School. [Keara Gann] Today, we were working with Tara Chestnut and we found some long-toed salamanders, rough-skinned newts, and a tree frog. [Nick] We’re surveying and studying for amphibians because every year the 8th graders go on research trips. [Brody] So, I thought it would be fun to do a research project on them since I have seen a lot of amphibians. And I just thought I would like to learn more about them. [Brandon] It was amphibians out of several other groups of animals and I just thought amphibians would be more interesting since they could be on the land and water, unlike many other species. [Background Music: Bassoon, Concerto in A Minor, Classical One and Only] [Tara Chestnut] What we could do is bring all the traps back here so I can…so we can just record what’s in them and let the animals go, if there are any. [Keara Gann] This group is studying the difference in abundance and diversity of pond-breeding amphibians. And, so, they’re looking specifically at ephemeral ponds and permanent, year-round ponds. [Tara Chestnut] Any amphibians? [JGEMS Students] Look, a little frog! You have a frog and a newt. Awesome! Two in one. [Tara Chestnut] Today, one of the goals was to sample breeding amphibians for the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. And we set out aquatic funnel traps, and also used dip nets to try and capture amphibians. And, we are sampling them for the chytrid fungus using non-evasive swab techniques. So, we’ll collect a skin sample, not unlike a sample you might have collected from your cheek if you have strep throat. And, then we take those swabs back to the lab and do a DNA extraction and we can actually determine whether or not the amphibian chytrid fungus is on or in the amphibian and also how much of it is there. [Background Music: Pledgling :30, Fresh Music Library, Acoustic Guitar Moods Vol. 2] [Tara Chestnut] Everyone measure the animals twice. Have you ever heard in woodworking, “measure twice, cut once.” Yeah. Same rule. You just double check your work. Does anyone remember the name of the reflex they have to show other animals that you shouldn’t eat newts? It’s called the unken reflex. [Tara Chestnut] One of the goals of this research is to better understand the ecology of the amphibian chytrid fungus in amphibian habitats. So, that we can better inform amphibian conservation. We’re looking at aspects of the water quality to try and understand if the temperature, pH, nutrients, carbon, or the turbidity in the water influence the density or presence of amphibian chytrid fungus in amphibian habitat. [Keara Gann] Typical JGEMS field trip. Beautiful weather…no, it’s obviously raining, but it’s been great. I think the kids really like coming out and maybe not getting soaking wet. But the experience is good. Gives them character. [Background Music: Clue :30, Fresh Music Library, Acoustic Guitar Moods Vol. 2] [Tara Chestnut] The amphibian breeding season is…it indicates the arrival of spring. And that’s a pretty exciting thing. With the amphibians croaking and with the long-toed salamanders…and things like that, it means that spring’s here. And that’s pretty exciting! [Brody] I think it’s fun to try to find them cause they’re not easy to find. So you kind of have to hunt for them. [Tristan] Well, I like it because just the joy of amphibians really. They’re really neat to look at and to hold and to study. [Brandon] Yeah, before I came into this group and started doing the research I basically knew nothing about amphibians. Now I know what they eat, where they live, the scientific names, a lot of stuff. [Background Music: It’s Not Over Yet :30, Fresh Music Library, Acoustic Guitar Moods Vol. 2] [Tara Chestnut] Yeah, I think this work…it’s exciting to me on a number of fronts. It’s exciting to me because we are doing truly novel research that will help with amphibian conservation not just at this site, on this national wildlife refuge, or in this region, but may potentially help amphibians worldwide.
"The Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School will provide an engaging and meaningful focus for students to achieve Oregon academic standards. Through partnerships with community and governmental organizations, an integrated curriculum design and an emphasis on field-based projects, students will actively apply their knowledge and skills as they improve our local and global environments."
The curriculum at JGEMS is aligned to current Oregon curriculum content standards and all courses taught in other Salem/Keizer middle schools are also taught at JGEMS. The curriculum at JGEMS consists of conservation biology, language arts, social studies, mathematics, integrated science, physical education/health education, and technology. If any student receives a F in any class before a field trip, they are not invited on that field trip. It is also very focused on science.
JGEMS takes on environmental restoration projects and involves students in a variety of field studies. Projects are endangered species project, Oregon silverspot butterfly, reed canary grass suppression, frog deformities, amphibian monitoring, indefinite maintenance at Pringle Creek, macroinvertebrates census, Aumsville pond restoration, Little Pudding River restoration, forest fire severity, monitoring the movement of the heavy wood debris by tides and high water events at Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, forest ecology at Opal Creek Education Center, and research on the snowy plover. As of the 2011–12 school year, all the endangered species are at the Oregon Zoo.
- Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School (official website)