Decomposition Area


To showcase the decomposition process away from mammals, such as raccoons and squirrels, that often pull apart rotting logs to find food. Students can study the decomposition process happen and compare changes on this accessible rooftop. Several species of trees act as nurse logs to many other species, including a host of mushrooms, lichens, and mosses.


    • The log should remain locked and unopened at all times unless approved by a biology teacher for educational study purposes
    • Make sure the sprinkler is not on for too long to avoid over-wetting the log during the summer; the log should be damp at all times
    • Weekly check for any garbage or damage

Interesting Notes:

    • The log is scheduled to be opened once per week so insects and invertebrates can be identified, and their populations estimated 
    • Several species of mushrooms have grown in the first year and during the first month there was a 400% increase in biodiversity noted by students studying the nurse log 
    • The large tree trunk section is from a 100+ year old oak that had to be cut for safety reasons on Dawson property in 2011. It was cut in half and hinges, handles and a lock were installed so that it could be opened.
    • A Robin (Turdus migratorius) nested in 2017 in this area and a Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos)  has nested 5 times between 2015-2017.

Last Modified: May 30, 2022