Carter G. Woodson Academy
ENRI is woorking with the EcoClub at the Carter G. Woodson Academy to give the school's scholars a chance to deepen their understanding of ecological concepts and practice science process skills. The scholars are working on two projects: a National Science Foundation SEES Fellowship Project and a decomposition/biogeochemical cycle project.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Science, Engineering, and Education in Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship Project
The NSF project is conducted by Dr. Yukie Kajita in the Department of Entomology at UK. Dr. Kajita, Blake Newton, an Extension Scecialist in the Department of Entomology at UK. The objectives of the project include to provide long-term opportunities to middle school students to increase their science content knowledge, science process skills, and understanding of environmental sustainability through a research project with UK faculty. Students learned 1) concepts of food-web and energy flows, 2) how to design scientific experiments, and 3) concepts of ecosystem and introduction of agro-ecosystem. The students will conduct scientific experiments during summer 2013 to understand the effects of beneficial insects on pest insects and plant growth and yield. The students will plant potatoes and beans in the garden at the First Baptist Church Bracktown and set up the experiment: 1) plants with beneficial insects and 2) plants without beneficial insects. They will collect data of 1) the number of pest insects, 2) number of beneficial insects, 3) number of potatoes and beans, 4) fresh and dry weight of above-ground plants, 5) weight of yield, and 6) defoliation rate of potatoes. Photo Gallery.
Decomposition/Biogeochemical Cycle Project
Under the guidance of Millie Hamilton from the College of Agriculture's Department of Forestry, and Eric Hope, a senior in the Natural Resources and Enviromental Science program at UK, the Carter G. Woodson scholars are investigating decomposition and the carbon cycle. Using two different sized mesh, three environments, and two species of leaves, the students constructed bags to examine the controls on decomposition rate. For example, by using two different size mesh bags, the scholars will be able to investigate whether limiting larger decomposer organisms slows the rate of decomposition. Similarly, by incubating the leaves in different environments (wed, dry, and air), they will be able to observe how contact with soil, as well as moisture, influences leaf decomposition. Photo Gallery.