The TapRoots in the Classroom program beganat Greenbelt Middle School in 2011. For many teachers, this was their first time integrating outdoor learning into curricula.
In 2012 TapRoots in the Classroom relied on 6University of Maryland undergraduates to teach 120 7th grade students agroecology. Here environmental science and policy student,Mayhah Suri talks about the Irish Potato Famine to make sense of plant diseases.
Here students take a break from class tohelp mulch one of the raised beds at Greenbelt Middle School.
Thanks to the nematology lab at USDA-ARS,Greenbelt Middle School students were able discover nematodes.
Members of the school’s environmental club helpedtransplant seedlings by using recycled newspaper as pots.
Students from each class pairedup to help transplant seedlings after they learned about plant propagation.
TapRoots in the Classroom concluded with a cookingdemonstration sponsored by My Organic Market and the University of Maryland Food Co-Op. 2011 UMD Geography Ph.D. graduate Derrick Scott DJ’d for the event.
From left to right: Kim Walsh, executive director of CHEARS; Abdul; Brennan; Jimmy; Jay and Alex learnabout forest foraging and survival skills with the help of guest lecturer, Joe Murray (far right).
YES! students worked together to transplant pumpkins.
Dr. Donald Weber, research entomologist for USDA-ARS Invasive Insect and BiocontrolLaboratory, led an activity about insects in the garden.
The YES! program had their students interview local farmersabout sustainable farming practices at the UMD Wellness Market.Students were also interviewed by UMD Journalism students about their experience with TapRoots.
The YES! program concluded with a “seed bomb” making activity.
The first session of the Adventures in Soil Science program began byexploring soil as a habitat. Here UMD and TapRoots students takesoil samples from a research field at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD.
Jimmy and Jay working with UMD honor students to process soil samples at a USDA-ARS nematology lab.
University of Maryland Ph.D. student, Annie Rossi (3rd on the left)led a lesson on soil hydrology in a soil pit at the Natural Resources Conservation Service National Plant Materials Center.
Students explore redoximorhphic features in poorly drained soils.
Students discover how soils are connected to our watershed by analyzing water samples collected from the Indian Creek. HereMayhah shows Nathan how to titrate a sample to determine the level of dissolved oxygen.
After learning about soil hydrology, chemistry and ecology students focused on research methods in soil science. Here the students learned about the importance of calibratinginstrumentation. Then they used Excel to runa linear regression model on calibration data to determine accuracy of soil moisture sensors.
UMD and TapRoots students broke ground for theModular Learning Station that will be installed tocollect environmental and soil data at SpringhillLake Recreational Center.
We helped CHEARS plant trees for their Greenbelt Food Forest Project.
Just before Hurricane Sandyarrived, students helped assemblemonitoring equipment to capture data on the storm.
With the soil monitor ready to collect data on Hurricane Sandy the TapRoot group concluded the Adventures in Soil Science program.***From left to right on the back row: Jennifer Himmelstein, Alyssa, Tory, Anthony Dimeglio, Greenbelt City Councilwoman-Leta Mach, Jay, Brennan, Nathan, and Alex. In the front row: Mayhah Suri, Bezankeng and Alice Cook Henke.
The idea for the Conversations with TapRoots program was seededwhen Community Outreach Director for Franklin Park Apartments,Evan Allen, asked TapRoots to lead a container gardening event for their residents.
As Conversations with TapRoots developed, we were able to bring more of the UMD community into our project. Here TapRoots and UMD students came together during the Frist Annual TapRoots Fall Fest. ***From left to right: Spencer Ernst, UMD senior in Environmental Science and member of The Walking Sticks; Dana Goetz, 2012 UMD alumna of Environmental Science; Brennan, year long TapRoots student; Alex; Joshua Deese, UMD sophomore in government and TapRoots volunteer; Grant Shiver, UMD sophomore in Environmental Science and Technology-Ecotech and Design and Computer Science minor; and Brennan’s Dad, Dave.
Because of the Conversation with TapRoots program, we were able to reach out to Brennan’s Dad, acontractor and carpenter, to brainstorm ideas on how to construct the modular learning station for Springhill Lake Recreational Center
After a year of TapRoots programs, our scholars Brennan and Jayasked us to help them with their 8th grade science fair project. They wanted to investigate the distinctions between disturbed and undistributed soils. We put them in contact with UMD ENST Ph.D. student Dot Lundberg to use her research sites on the Maryland Eastern Shore for their project. We used ZipCar to drive out there.
Dot and our students dug two soil pits: One in an area ditched during the Great Depression and another that was not ditched.Their science fair project will contrast the particle size distributions of these soils.
With the help of NRCS soil scientist, Jim Brewers, we were able to extract monoliths from each soil pit.
UMD Soil Judgers Ryan Adams andChris Palardy led a tour of the soilmonolith in HJ Paterson Building.
Conversations with TapRoots works with students like Brennan and Jay, and their teachers to help them become goal oriented withinSTEM projects. As an additional service, TapRoots connects the area’syouth to the University of Maryland community to inspire them to be college focused as they enter their freshmen year of high school.In 2013, Conversations with TapRoots will be offered to Laurel High, Greenbelt, William Wirt and Nicholas Orem middle schools.