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San Diego Bay: A Call for Conservation

School: Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High School

City/State: San Diego, CA

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Format(s): Field guide: Natural science

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This professional-quality field guide was created by high school students from the Gary and Jeri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High, working with their science teacher and their humanities teacher and dozens of experts from the professional world. It is the fourth in a series of field guides to aspects of San Diego Bay created by students at the school, all of which set a new standard for professionalism in student-directed projects. Other guides from this series that can be viewed in this archive include Perspectives of San Diego Bay – a field guide to the natural history to human impact on the bay, with an historical overview of settlement development and industry. 

This guide focuses on the ecological aspects of the bay and key species that reveal its ecological health. Students researched important organisms in the bay and present in this guide historical background of species, health, current status, efforts at restoration of habitat, and future issues for ecological health.

Students worked with a wide range of scientist from universities, research centers, zoos, aquariums and industry. They received guidance from renowned scientists such as Jane Goodal, E.O. Wilson and Nobel Prize winner Michael Oppenheimer.

Students engaged in the work of research and production for this field guide for more than a year, and were involved in directing aspects of field studies, lab studies, data analysis and presentation, interviews, photography, writing and production.  Part of their work included DNA barcoding lab studies to determine genetic identification of species.

This book, and others like it, may be purchased from the school.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Demonstrates an outstanding level of sophistication for high school students – in many ways indistinguishable from adult work.
  • Powerful example of authentic audience – the general public – millions of people, including the students, who have vested interest in the information.
  • The collaboration of high school level science and humanities is evident throughout the book; this project is a fine model for collaboration in a secondary setting.
  • The level of participation by notable scientists, as well as high quality printing and distribution is highly motivating for students.
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