From Students to Scientists: an "Impossible" Journey

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Saturday, 19 December 2015
From Students to Scientists: an "Impossible" Journey

Students can be scientists? It's true! In another story of "impossibles made possible" by your support of the Urban Ecology Center, we're taking at look at our Young Scientists Club and their participation in the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program!

The Young Scientists Club is our weekly science and nature-based after school program at our Washington Park and Menomonee Valley branches.

driven 2 discover 2015 WP stage
Our Young Scientists Club posing with their research presentations at Washington Park. Photo: Jeff McAvoy

For the past four years, students from each club have worked hard to produce original scientific research. Partnering with the University of Minnesota through a program called Driven to Discover, students have been able to travel to the Minneapolis campus and present their findings at the Ecology Fair, an annual student research symposium.

Unlike a typical science fair, Ecology Fair participants formally present their research to professional scientists, answer questions, and defend their findings as if they were professional researchers themselves!

Click here for more stories of the "impossible made possumble" through the support of the Urban Ecology Center!
Awesome Possum

Our Young Scientists just got back from this year's fair, and as usual they had some impressive research to present!

  • Jada and Bella designed a study around vermicompost, analyzing the rate at which certain foods were broken down by red wiggler worms. They determined that apples break down particularly fast.
  • Gustav, Kennedy, and Liam observed wildlife’s preference for fast food versus natural food by setting up a wildlife camera on the Washington Park Island, setting out bait, and seeing which foods the animals were draw to. They discovered that the animals encountered (including raccoons, mice, and rats) were primarily drawn to the fast food first and then visited the natural food afterwards.
  • Menomonee Valley's largest ever team of Young Scientists included Olivia, Angelica, Joey, Ciara, Victorio, Citlali, Cuauhtli, Gabby, Anastasia, Lella-Rose, Loralei, Vivian, and Beatrix. Together they designed a study that observed bird species in Stormwater Park throughout the months of September, October, and November.  They found the highest number of species and individuals during their third week of observation on October 3rd.

driven 2 discover 2015 MN group shot
Our Young Scientists and Center staff posing at the University of Minnesota Ecology Fair.

Your support of the Urban Ecology Center provides kids near Washington Park and the Menomonee Valley with a safe, fun, and educational after school activity. And thanks to our involvement with the Driven to Discover program, it gives these amazing students the opportunity to become scientists!

Will you continue your support today?

YOU help us make the impossible possumble!
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