A week-long summer field studies program for high school girls

Mount Holyoke College’s Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program (RESSP) is a summer educational program designed to introduce high school girls to the growing field of ecological restoration. Through this field studies program, students learn about key components of environmental science and restoration, including soil health, water quality, wildlife management, plant biodiversity, social issues related to ecological restoration, and restoration design. The program was first developed by REP alumna, Jovanna Robinson-Hidas (’16). Visit the program page for more information, photos, and the online application.

Sustainable Springfield Initiative

A partnership for restoration-based education and urban stream restoration in neighboring urban areas

REP is part of a multi-organizational partnership funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The partnership aims to engage Springfield, Massachusetts, in stewardship-related activities with two central goals: increasing awareness and sensitivity of residents to watershed-related issues, and fostering a sense of place and citizen stewardship within the Connecticut River watershed. Urban stream and forest restoration will occur at the Abbey Brook Conservation Area, and students from the adjacent Renaissance School will participate in habitat restoration efforts and engage in curricula that applies stream monitoring, invasive species management, and wetland restoration concepts at the field site. Renaissance School students will also be supported to participate in MHC's Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program (described above). The overarching vision is to build long-term collaborative partnerships between schools, community organizations, public agencies, and private organizations committed to restoring Springfield's natural areas.

South Hadley Farmers' Market

REP students share with the community about their work and the field of restoration ecology

For eight weeks each summer, REP student interns head out to the South Hadley Farmers' Market to set up an interactive booth. In addition to printed information about the Project Stream site and restoration project, the booth serves as a launching point for student-led site tours, as well as a forum to talk about ecological restoration and the importance of wetlands for ecosystem function. Students also share displays about the stages of algal growth in Lower Lake throughout the summer season, maintain a list of community volunteers interested in taking part in restoration efforts, and give away free REP stickers and brochures!

Project Stream Site Tours

Interact on-site with an REP guide

REP students have developed an outreach and education program through which they provide tours of the Project Stream site. Site tours are a perfect opportunity for interested community residents, MHC alumnae, and other friends of the REP to learn more about the campus restoration project, as well as our fundamental approach to restoration ecology. Tours generally launch from the Farmers' Market booth during the summer (see above), but we are always happy to arrange tours outside of this schedule. If you're interested in touring the site with a guide from REP, please get in touch via the contact page.

Project Stream Boardwalk

A public gateway to MHC's restored wetland

Opening in late 2015, the Project Stream Boardwalk will allow visitors to engage with the restored wetland up close. A joint effort with designers from New England Environmental, Inc. and Scapes Builders, the elevated boardwalk will meander through the newly constructed wetland and provide space for classes and other student groups, researchers, tours, and community members to gather in an outdoor classroom. Along the boardwalk route, a trail kiosk and informational signage will provide details about the restoration project, as well as wetland function, local vegetative and animal species, and ongoing REP research at Project Stream. The ADA accessible boardwalk trail will begin near the MHC boathouse on the Upper Lake Loop. We are still seeking funding to complete the project, but Phase 1 construction will be taking place during early fall of 2015. Please stay tuned!

Restoration Showcases

A public event highlighting student work from our Restoration Ecology Course (ES 316)

A significant portion of the Restoration Ecology course requires students to take part in progressing through the stages of a real-world restoration project and presenting their work to the broader community. Each year, they host a “Restoration Showcase” to share with the South Hadley Conservation Commission, MHC community, site neighbors, and other interested stakeholders about the Restoration Ecology Program and the campus restoration project they've been working on. Most recently, the students put together a one-hour presentation followed by a poster reception where they answered questions and talked with visitors one-on-one about their specific contributions to the research and restoration work. In 2015, more than 130 people attended our showcase.

REP Facebook Page

Up-to-date information about happenings in the REP

With so many varied research, practice, outreach, and education activities going on in the REP, it can be hard to keep up! We implemented the Facebook page so friends of the REP can integrate program updates directly into their social media stream. This is where we highlight project updates, share daily reports with parents during the Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program, boast about exciting research steps, and show off special student achievements.
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