Updates on Chapter Activities from SEEDS Chapter Grant Recipients
University of Puerto Rico’s The Leading Initiative for Future Ecologist (LIFE) Chapter members built and maintained a community garden by collecting leaf litter, sorting, and identifying species. Thirteen students participated in the collection of data for a period of 11 weeks; from January 7, 2014 through April 11. Their Preliminary results show that the two most abundant species in the Bosquecito UPR Bayamón area are Senna siamea and Pterocarpus indicus. Also, they observed that most of the trees flushed their leaves in the end of March. The purpose of this project was to help students understand the time of the year that plants grow and reproduce. They will correlate patterns of growth, flower, fruit, and seed production to weather patterns.
The McPherson SEEDS Chapter completed fieldwork with the help of the AKKA SEEDS group from the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras. They examined questions about plant community assemblages and the effect of land use history on the forest community in the Northeast Ecological Corridor in Puerto Rico. This project also had an outreach component that will enlist the help of local university and high school students in Puerto Rico and involve them in the research process. The data have been analyzed as part of a McPherson SEEDS student’s senior research project. They plan on revising the manuscript and submitting it to Acta Científica. Dr. Ariel Lugo, Director of the USDA’s International Institute of Tropical Forestry and editor of the journal provided helpful consultation on the project. They plan on completing revisions on the manuscript and submitting it for publication by the end of this summer.
The Eco Club at Northwest Mississippi Community College assembled Five Wooduck Houses and six Bluebird Houses and are ready to be established around their waterfowl habitat development and bluebird trail. The goal of the project was to create a local breeding population of varying species of waterfowl in wetlands near the campus. Several plots have been designated for the planting of over 50 Sunflower seeds to enhance the entrance of the campus and provide an abundance of feed for the many birds and other fowl around the campus. They have also spread several thousand Japanese rice and millet seeds around the drainage pond which they are attempting to make agriculturally sound and clean.
Dillard University’s Seeds participants developed methodologies to assess the ramifications of the feral hog population at Jean Laffite National Park since, the invasive species population has become a nuisance to many ecological communities along coastal Louisiana. They began their assessments by monitoring and conducting research of feral hogs within the park system then, they were able to develop a protocol sampling methodology within the park trail systems which will be used for monthly monitoring conducted by future volunteers. Overall the SEEDS participants were able to gain primary ecological research skills and give back to the Orleans Community.
The DU-SEEDS chapter has been working with scientists and staff from the Jean Lafitte National Park in Southeastern Louisiana. Dr. Julie Whitbeck visited Dillard on February 12th and began discussing invasive species research and project design with Dillard students. On February 19th, the Dillard students visited Jean Lafitte Park and were oriented to the park and its environment and invasive species issues and research needs. Currently, students are in the process of doing library research about previous invasive species work done in the region, and this month we will begin designing our study.
Fort Lewis College
Last summer, SEEDS at FLC hosted a showing of “Crude: The Real Price of Oil.” This documentary focused on the story of a lawsuit by tens of thousands of Ecuadorans against Chevron over contamination of the Ecuadorean Amazon. After the film, we discussed how this story related to environmental issues worldwide. Furthermore, we briefly discussed what factors resulted in the environmental problems and how such issues could be solved.
We met at the beginning of the spring semester to plan for our next events. These include a hosting talk given by a professional ecologist, helping out with the restoration of Sambrito Wetlands, and potentially cleaning up the shores of the San Juan River.
Members of the McPherson (KS) SEEDS chapter traveled to Puerto Rico in Jan 2014 to work with AKKA SEEDS students from UPR-Rio Piedras on a research project in the Northeast Ecological Corridor forest.
University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon L.I.F.E. SEEDS chapter
LIFE began its Phenology project in January 2014. Students meet before school started to buy materials, to construct the leaf litter baskets and to identify the sampling points in “El Bosquecito” at UPR Bayamón. Sampling started on February 8, 2014. Students have been collecting samples weekly since that date. Ten students have participated in the collection and in the sorting of leaves, fruits and flowers in the laboratory. The project is advertised weekly in the LIFE Facebook page and in the LIFE Bulletin Board in the Biology Building of our campus. We expect to submit an abstract for the Late Breaking Poster Session in the ESA Meeting.