Post-Biscuit Fire Management Study

Public Science Education

An important goal of this website is to create an interactive platform as a tool for local and regional science teachers and students to access data or conduct research. The website’s function as a comprehensive source of post-Biscuit Fire datasets can be readily searched for projects and reports requiring literature reviews, and the entire library of digital datasets can be searched and downloaded as needed for reports, presentations, or online discussions. The addition of an interactive educational function, such as Blackboard (Blackboard, Inc. 2008), would make it possible for students, teachers, and field researchers to develop hypotheses that could be tested using the websites’ existing content, or by developing additional content to be shared by others.

Educational value.

The educational value of the proposed website can be enhanced by the use of interactive software designed specifically for that purpose:

Course lectures and field studies can also be enhanced with the use of hypertext (HTML), video, and text transcripts that can be cut-and-pasted for ease of use and accuracy:

Other types of software and datasets can be of similar value, depending on user needs and curricula requirements.


The initial research hypotheses for Appendix A (Bormann et al. 2004) are included in the Project Goals for this study: Can late-successional habitat be restored and protected by managing in more than one way in the USFS Reserves burned in the Biscuit Fire? How fast will various management pathways, and their interactions with natural disturbances, achieve late-succession conditions?

These hypotheses are intended to be buttressed by additional research questions posed by the scientific and academic communities and by interested citizens and citizen groups. An example of how this process may be initiated is illustrated by an exercise undertaken by Harney County High School students under the direction of ORWW representatives at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in 2002:

Interactive hypotheses database. This link would provide existing hypotheses expressed in the study plan, and additional hypotheses as the plan is implemented and matures. Opportunity would be made for visitor groups to add their own hypotheses, both for sharing with the general public and for specific projects, reports, and assignments.


Existing datasets can be enhanced by creation of indexes, addition of search engines, and conversion to modern software applications, such as hypertext. An example of this process is shown by the conversion of historical field reports in the Biscuit Fire area to an edited indexed hypertext table that can be readily searched with standard search engines, such as Google or Yahoo!:

Another example is the conversion of historical panoramic photographs of forested landscape patterns to interactive “QTVR” video files (MOV):


By definition, all Internet websites are fundamentally “interactive” in that the visitor decides where to go, what to see, and how long to stay. For the purposes of this project, the term interactive takes on two additional levels of meaning: 1) those website locations that require users to manipulate the data that is presented in order to get additional results, and 2) those locations in which the user receives feedback from other website users.
The first type of interaction is illustrated by any use of the links provided in this report. Youtube is a popular recent example of this general type of interactivity. By adding the words “how to” to the website’s Google search function, a nearly unlimited number of educational video-clips can be readily accessed by site visitors:

The second type of website interaction involves multiple users, often with a site moderator or paid instructor at the helm. For educational purposes, Blackboard (Blackboard, Inc. 2008) provides the most well known suite of interactive software applications. More commonly, website “blogs” cost little or nothing to create, and have achieved widespread use and acceptance in the last few years. Examples of blogs intended to encourage public discussion and/or to distribute informational materials to the general public include:

The use and maintenance of these secondary types of interactive websites requires regular attention and constant updating, and is generally far more expensive to implement as a result.

Learning Experiment.

This study was originally described as a “learning experiment,” partly because of the following characteristics (Bormann, et al. 2004):

• The study applies some techniques normally reserved for research studies, including a study plan, hypotheses, an experimental design, replication, random allocation of treatments, and peer review.

• The alternative pathways are considered "treatments" in a statistical sense, and monitoring is considered as measuring response to treatments.

Curricula. A grade-school level link should be considered. Discussions should include Doni McKay, who is doing a grade school educational project on fungi with PNWRS.

A high-school level link should be included, following discussions with Robyn Darbyshire and consideration of her successful work (and contacts) with southwest Oregon science teachers and projects.

A college and university-level link should be included, following discussions with appropriate university professors and interested private and government funding sources regarding work that might be performed with OSU, SOU, BLM, and the USFS that focuses on Biscuit Fire topics and locations. Contacts should be made with such individuals to identify possible collaborative efforts, gain insights into existing approaches, and to begin building a network of potential website users and funding sources.


©2008 Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc.