Posts tagged ‘BIA fellows’

September 29, 2014

High School Eco-Challenge Matches Students with Scientists

by Melissa Harding

DSC_0056

Last week, over 150 middle and high school students from local schools came to Phipps to participate in the Eco-Challenge, a multidisciplinary environmental outreach event co-run by Phipps and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3. Students worked in teams of four to learn about sustainability over the course of three challenges. In the first, students learned about the benefits of upcycling, or reusing materials to create a product of higher value or quality than the original materials. Students used “trash”, donated by local salvage non-profit Construction Junction, to create temporary mosaics. In the next, they took a scavenger hunt around the Conservatory with the help of our wonderful, volunteer docents to learn about the ecology of the landscape and greenhouses. Finally, students got the chance to work with our visiting Botany in Action Fellows, interviewing them on their work and career paths.

This challenge is always a favorite every year; students love meeting real scientists and are always affected by the passion and excitement that our Fellows exude when they talk about their work.

See more photos from the day in the slideshow below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This event also serves as a kick-off for the Fairchild Challenge, a year-long environmental education program for both middle and high school students sponsored through the Fairchild Tropical and Botanic Gardens in Miami, Florida. In this multidisciplinary program, older students participate in a variety of sustainability-based “challenges” that focus on art, writing, music, and more. Schools choose to participate in one or all of seven challenges that take place over the course of the school year. At the end of the spring, monetary awards are given to the winning schools for use in their environmental science departments.

The above photos were taken by Science Education Staff and volunteers.

January 8, 2014

Follow the Fellows: Understanding Plant Diversity with Anna Johnson

by Melissa Harding

Johnson_Field Photo

The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens fosters the development of a next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed, first, to excellent research, and second, to educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions and conducting plant-based scientific field research, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards field research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in research in locales from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois to Nepal and India. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roofs in urban biodiversity and the influence of heavy metal soil pollution on plants and pollinators to identification of plants used by healers that protect brain cells from the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

January’s featured fellow is Anna Johnson. Anna is a PhD student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Pittsburgh native. Anna studies plant communities in vacant lots within cities. Biodiversity is important, even in urban areas, and Anna is studying to see if the way the land was used in the past influences what plants are growing there today. She is working to create a plan for restoring diverse plant communities that are capable of improving soil quality, reducing storm water runoff, supporting wildlife and producing pleasing landscapes for the growing urban population.

Read an update on Anna’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany in Action website!

You can follow Anna and all of the BIA fellows as they study plants across the US and across the world at the Follow the Fellows section of our Botany In Action website.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The photo was provided by Anna Johnson.

September 30, 2013

High School Eco-Challenge Matches Teens with Scientists

by Melissa Harding

DSCN0006

Last week, 80 high school students from local schools came to Phipps to participate in the Eco-Challenge, a multidisciplinary environmental outreach event co-run by Phipps and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3. Students worked in teams of four to learn about sustainability over the course of three challenges. In the first they worked with Jeff Ritter, Associate Professor of Communication, Media and Technology at La Roche College to create and record “commercials” for living a more sustainable life. In the next, they took a scavenger hunt around the Conservatory with the help of our wonderful, volunteer docents to learn about the ecology of the landscape and greenhouses. Finally, students got the chance to work with our visiting Botany in Action Fellows, interviewing them and creating posters about their chosen Fellow. This challenge is always a favorite every year; students love meeting real scientists and are always affected by the passion and excitement that our Fellows exude when they talk about their work.

To see a sample of the posters created for our Fellows and more images from the morning, check out the slideshow below. Winning posters for each Fellow were displayed at their tables during “Meet the Scientists” on Saturday.

Winning posters were:
Upper St. Claire High School: Brian Kaplan and Morgan Cook
Brentwood High School: Brianna Pail, Greg Casey, Matt Benedik, and Drew Gross
Knoch High School: Nida Ripper, Aiden Neigh, Will Moryas, and Josh Crassi
Upper St. Claire High School: Zach Christiansen and Sriparna Sen
Moon Area High School: Dana Murray, Aashka Shan, Jessica Peng, Emily Padgett, and Beth Eberts

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This event also serves as a kick-off for the Fairchild Challenge, a year-long environmental education program for both middle and high school students sponsored through the Fairchild Tropical and Botanic Gardens in Miami, Florida. In this multidisciplinary program, older students participate in a variety of sustainability-based “challenges” that focus on art, writing, music, and more. Schools choose to participate in one or all of seven challenges that take place over the course of the school year. At the end of the spring, monetary awards are given to the winning schools for use in their environmental science departments.

The above photos were taken by Science Education Staff and volunteer Pam Russell.

June 13, 2013

Follow the Fellows: Revisiting Chicago’s Green Roofs with Kelly Ksiazek

by Melissa Harding

kelly

The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens fosters the development of a next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed, first, to excellent research, and second, to educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions and conducting plant-based scientific field research, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards field research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in research in locales including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, India and Nepal. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roofs in urban biodiversity and the influence of heavy metal soil pollution on plants and pollinators to identification of plants used by healers that protect brain cells from the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

June’s featured fellow is Kelly Ksiazek. We are revisiting Kelly again this summer because of the exciting work she is doing! Kelly is a PhD student at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden where she also earned her master’s degree in Plant Biology and Conservation. Currently, Kelly studies green roofs in Chicago. Green roofs are a unique kind of rooftop in which plants are grown; they can provide wildlife habitat, help hold stormwater, filter pollutants from the air, and decrease the heating and cooling costs of a building. Her research aims to determine which combinations of local plant species can survive on green roofs.

Read an update on Kelly’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany In Action website!

You can follow Kelly and all of the BIA as they study plants across the US and across the world at the Follow the Fellows section of our Botany In Action website.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The above image was provided by Kelly Ksiazek.

March 21, 2013

Follow the Fellows: Understanding the Link Between Indigenous People and Native Ecology

by Melissa Harding

anita-varghese2

The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps fosters the development of the next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed to both excellent research and educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards scientific research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in local research in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland and research abroad in Nepal, Thailand and India. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roof plants in urban storm water management and the effects of plant invasion on a rare woodland butterfly to identification of plants used by healers for treatment of dementia.

March’s featured fellow is Anita Varghese. Anita is PhD student in Botany at the University of Hawaii. She has lived and worked in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Western Ghats, India since 1993, after completing her Masters in Ecology. Anita is interested in the relationship between ecology of forests and indigenous people. Her research focuses on the reasons why some people in India choose to remain harvesters of medicinal plants and forest products, while others are moving away from livelihoods that depend on forest resources. Her research combines the knowledge of native people with scientific studies to produce a comprehensive understanding of plant species to aid in conservation.

Read an update on Anita’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany In Action website!
You can follow Anita and all of the BIA as they study plants across the US and across the world at Follow the Fellows.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The above image was provided by Anita Verghese.

November 23, 2012

Follow the Fellows: Real Plant Scientists in the Field!

by Melissa Harding

The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps fosters the development of the next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed to both excellent research and educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions and conducting plant-based scientific field research, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards field research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in local research in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland and research abroad in Nepal, Thailand, India, and Brazil. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roof plants in urban storm water management and the effects of plant invasion on a rare woodland butterfly to identification of plants used by healers for treatment of dementia.

November’s featured fellow is Kelly Ksiazek. Kelly is a PhD student at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden where she also earned her master’s degree in Plant Biology and Conservation. Currently, Kelly studies green roofs in Chicago. Green roofs are a unique kind of rooftop in which plants are grown; they can provide wildlife habitat, help hold stormwater, filter pollutants from the air, and decrease the heating and cooling costs of a building. Her research aims to determine which combinations of local plant species can survive on green roofs.

Read an update on Kelly’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany In Action website!

You can follow Kelly and all of the BIA as they study plants across the US and across the world at the Follow the Fellows section of our Botany In Action website.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The above image was provided by Kelly Ksiazek.

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