Ecology students foster environmental passion

Ecology is a science class unlike any other. For one, students spend much of their time in the outdoors, learning from their surroundings. Jonathan Oltmans has taught Ecology at LOHS for the past 18 years. His intensive background and passion for this subject aided him in designing a curriculum that would best benefit his students while integrating hands-on lab activities with outdoor explorations.

Oltmans said of his teaching methods, “I feel really strongly that the best way to teach [Ecology] and to have people care about it is to not just spend time lecturing about all the bad things that people are doing to the Earth, but to instead get people outside to see it and to have something that they feel passionate about.”

Many students have appreciated the opportunity they have to go outside during the fall and springtime of the year.

Senior Abby Tomita said, “More students should take it because there are lots of issues regarding the earth that everyone should know about and be paying attention to.”

Junior Josi Hewes added, “Mr. Oltmans does a good job teaching and really gives you a view of the world in a way that you have never thought about it before.”

In the past, Oltmans has brought his students to Spring brook Creek to test the water quality, and he’s known for giving nature talks during their walks through the woods. Throughout the year, ecology students learn about fossil fuels, biodiversity, bird identification and many more engaging topics. Oltmans’ ultimate goal is to help people realize that everyone is capable of making a tangible impact on the ecosystems around them.