LTER Schoolyard Schools

Luquillo LTER SchollyardFor nearly 20 years, the US Forest Service and the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras have collaborated on the Schoolyard LTER Program to promote K-12 curriculum development in science and mathematics throughout Puerto Rico.  These efforts have improved teacher and student training in environmental sciences and particularly in tropical forest ecology, in addition to increasing student diversity in these disciplines in the United States.  During the past two decades schools from four municipalities have been involved in the LUQ Schoolyard LTER program: Barranquitas, Naranjito, Florida and Guánica.  Self-motivated teachers from each of these schools, with the assistance of their students, have established long-term plots on public  and private lands near their schools to study forest structure and dynamics.  In some schools, the outcomes of these investigations have been outstanding, with teachers producing manuscripts published in a peer-reviewed journal (and attending national conferences.  To become a volunteer with School Yard LTER please contact Noelia Baez Rodriguez, Educational Coordinator at 

Publications in 2012 Acta Científica: **teachers from the LUQ Schoolyard

Elliot López Machado** Keyla Soto Hidalgo y Tamara Heartsill-Scalley. 2012. Composición y estructura de un bosque tropical urbano en el karso norteño de Puerto Rico. Acta Científica Vol 26 1-3. página 54-67

M.F. Barberena-Arias, J. Ortiz-Zayas, C. Abad**, G. Almódovar**, E. López, M. Rodríguez, M. Samó, G. Dávila y L. Troche. 2012. Comparación de la fauna de artrópodos terrestres entre pastizales y bosques dominados por el tulipán africano (Spathodea campanulata), en tres zonas del carso norteño de Puerto Rico 68 M.F.  Acta Científica Vol 26 1-3. páginas 68-79

Clara Abad**.2012.La composición de la comunidad de aves en un bosque tropical urbano. Acta Científica Vol 26 1-3. páginas 87-97


During the years of 1986 and 1987, we selected a private area in the Forest “La Torrecilla”, located in the Barrio Barrancas in the Municipality of Barranquitas, for the development of a long-term study with the help of the International Institute for Tropical Forestry. Our study area is at 3,093 feet above sea level and it has been classified as a secondary forest because was used for agriculture since the XIX Century until 1940, to cultivate coffee. In our forest, our main water source originates from the Manatí River. 
In 1999, a science teacher of the Juan Ponce de Leon High School in Florida-Puerto Rico, Elliot Lopez, and some students, establish a research area in a secondary forest localized in the kart zone in the municipality of Florida, with the assistance of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. This zone has a high diversity of species. The research area (2000 m²), denominated Mogote Cuba, provides an idyllic area to develop special studies since it is the habitat of some species that are not common in other places like Coccoloba pubescens. Other trees species present are Dendropanax arboreus, Alchornea latifolia, Persea americana, Ceiba pentandra , Adira inermis, Calophyllum calaba, Zanthoxylum martinicense, Nectandra coriacea,Guarea trichiloides, Trichillia pallida and Pimenta racemosa. The Puertorrican giant green lizard (Anolis cuvieri) is one of the reptiles present in that forest.
The purpose of this investigation is to establish a database as part of a long-term ecological research at the dry scrub forest plot in the Guánica State Forest of Puerto Rico. This investigation started in 2009 as part of the Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program with students from the Aurea E. Quiles Claudio High School from Guánica and from August 2015 with students from the Ernesto Ramos Antonini High School.

Resources related to K-12 education and the LTER Network  Ecoplexity Teaching Ecologycal Complexity Journey To El Yunque: LTER LNO Education page LTER Digital Library VT EPSCoR: Reserach On Adaptation To climate Change, Research Experiences for highs schools and teachers  Research Experience for Teacher (RET): Research Assistantship for High School Students (RAHSS):