Senior Darren Motley and herpetology instructor John Kneisler monitor the wetlands around El Franco Lee Park.
For the past two years seniors at Dobie High have had the opportunity to make a tangible difference in their local ecosystem. Through Dobie's herpetology class, students have been able to study area populations of reptiles and amphibians.
Students in this senior elective, led by instructor John Kneisler, make monthly trips to El Franco Lee Park, where they trek through the landscape listening for amphibious life. They collect and monitor the creatures, releasing them later in the day.
Kneisler and his students also monitor water quality and keep track of additional species that call El Franco Lee Park home. This includes such rare species as the bald eagle, the American alligator, leopard frogs and the caracara, a predatory bird closely related to the falcon.
Back in class, the students compile reports on their findings which are submitted to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. These reports have been invaluable recently because of the record drought conditions.
Herpetology is a full-year senior science elective that focuses monitoring local amphibious life in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Houston Zoo.