Field Experiences class partners with University of Mississippi for Big Event

Environmental Science teacher Angela Whaley poses with her Field Experiences class during one of their field trips.

courtesy of Angela Whaley

Environmental Science teacher Angela Whaley poses with her Field Experiences class during one of their field trips.

Eve Gershon, Staff Writer

The University of Mississippi’s Big Event is enlisting the help of OHS’s Field Experiences class to aid in the leading and recruiting of an outdoor activity on Saturday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The event was originally planned for March 25, but was rescheduled due to bad weather.

“The Big Event is actually hosted by Ole Miss, and it is different activities around Oxford at different sites,” Environmental Science teacher Angela Whaley said.

Along with teaching AP and regular Environmental Science, Whaley teaches an extra class that her AP students can take called “Field Experiences.” The lab-based class allows her students to take field trips having to do with the environment around the community. The Field Experiences students have helped coordinate bringing OHS students to this sector of the Big Event.

“We’re just students. We’re just helping out, and just trying to make sure everything goes well, connect people,” junior and Field Experiences student Olivia Meyer said.

The plan is to go to the Woodlawn Davis Center to remove invasive plant species from the area and replace those species with native ones. The center is relatively new to Oxford and is going through a variety of phases before it can be deemed complete.

“It is a new park that’s being put in by the Woodlawn subdivision, and I think there’s already some walking trails that have been put in, but there’s different phases,” Whaley said. “I think we’re still on the first phase, but the first phase includes the removal of some invasive plant species.”

The plan is to remove the plant species Chinese Privet from the area with the hopes of helping all of the wildlife around the area to thrive.

“Chinese Privet is something that people are still planting in Oxford, and I mean, it’s attractive to look at, but it doesn’t support many insects, and therefore, if there’s not insects, then it’s not attracting birds,” Whaley said.

After removing the invasive plant species, the goal is to plant new species that will help the surrounding habitat.

“Native species like oak trees support many more insects like caterpillars and all of that,” Whaley said. “Then the birds will come in, so we’re trying to bring in native species of plants, and that will bring in the rest of the food chain.”

Looking forward to aiding in the event are juniors Raina Woolworth and Sadie Pasco-Pranger. Both are members of Envirothon, which is also run by Whaley, and signed up to take part in the event with the hopes of being of service to the park and its surroundings.

“It just seemed like something useful for the community,” Pasco-Pranger said.

Woolworth saw the event as an opportunity to help out and support the animals and people in Oxford.

“The invasive species can have a really negative effect on the environment,” Woolworth said. “Replacing them with native species can be helpful to people and create a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem.”

Due to the rescheduling of the event, students are able to continue signing up for the event through Schoology.