KCC FIG – Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice
Minutes of the Meeting of Wed, 11/17/2021, 11:30am via Zoom
Mary Theresa Ortiz – Facilitator
Present: Grace Axler-DiPerte (KCC BIO), Shannon Caravello (Urban Farm and Health & Phys Ed),
Christina Colon (KCC BIO), Jodie Delsol (Phys SCI and Advising), Craig Hinkley (KCC BIO),
Lilja Nielsen (KCC BIO), Mary Ortiz (KCC BIO), Robert Schenck (KCC PHYS SCI)
Meeting began at 11:30am.
- Mary welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. Mary introduced Shannon.
- Shannon introduced herself and spoke about research on the KCC Urban Farm for Faculty &/or students.
- The goal/focus is shifting from production (but will still support Culinary Arts) to Education, faculty and staff hands on work and community farming and gardening.
- There is now less staff at the farm: Shannon and a full-time gardener. Farm crew lines were lost. The gardener is a Civil Service Gardener position/line.
- Shannon wants faculty to have access and use of the farm for education and science (“white coats” on the farm).
- Shannon showed a map of the farm and explained it.
- There are renovations in the works:
- Renewing the beds
- Paths that will be ADA compliant. She worked with Accessibility on this. Paths will be 3 to 5 feet wide. There will also be different bed heights.
- A shade sail for working out of the sun
- A cherry tree was planted
- 58 trees were planted on the KCC campus (we lost 250 trees in Sandy).
- Community space
- A pergola structure
- Portable chef tables
- Growth towers
- Vast areas of open soil and wood chips
- Renovations may start in Winter 2022
- Propagation will start in Feb-Mar 2022.
- Discussion followed
- The farm can be used in Spring 2022 (Culinary Arts are using it and LMGHS will use 2 beds).
- We must work out schedules with Shannon.
- Soil sampling can be done. Grace would like her BIO5000 (General Microbiology) class to look at microbial communities in soil (clover and rhizobium). Grace and Shannon will speak. Shannon could use some help with soil analysis. Robert teaches Geology and Earth Science and asked if the soil changes over the course of a year. We discussed soil composition.
- Christina would like to generate data from semester to semester. She does this is BIO5300 (Ecology).
- Christina and Grace want to collaborate to create microbial soil maps.
- There is a fall cover crop at the farm.
- They get and have compost. They do a little composting at the farm (have bins). Compost was discussed. Culinary Arts may get a digester. Shannon would like to set up a NYC Compost Center. She has a Master’s Compost Certificate. Mary suggested contacting Celeste Creegan (KCC OSHA Officer) about composting as part of sustainability.
- Shannon is at the farm on Tuesdays and some Wednesdays and Thursdays. Email her to set up going to the farm when she is there.
- Robert gave Grace synthetic sterile Mars soil. Robert discussed Mars soil.
- Grace mentioned doing Winogradsky columns.
- Robert shared there is a weather station on the roof of the S-Building. It would be nice to have one on the farm. Students could use the data sets. Shannon would like to do that. We discussed the Davis Weather station. It has sensors for moisture, wind, and other parameters. We discussed lacrosse Technology. Shannon and Robert will discuss this more. It would be great for students.
- Shannon shared there are a lot of insects on the farm. This year there were a lot of crickets and praying mantis’.
- Shannon also shared there are some microscopes on the farm. One has a camera on it.
- Craig shared that the NCBI Databases have lots of genomes. You can give your class one gene and look across organisms. You can make a tree to show the evolutionary history of the gene. It’s a huge database with DNA, RNA, and proteins. Craig likes to focus on cytochrome C oxidase.
- It would be interesting to combine Comparative Anatomy and microbes in their guts.
- Christina shared new audio moths (sensors) in NYC that can detect coyote, bird calls and other animal sounds. These are passive listening devices that can capture sounds for up to a square mile. She mentioned that iNaturalist now can identify sounds.
- Next meeting: Spring 2022. We may be in person with the option to join online synchronously. Mary will work with Janine and/or Loretta on this. She will send out info for the meeting in the spring and will send out the minutes from this meeting. Mary thanked everyone for their participation this semester.
Meeting adjourned at 12:30pm.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Mary Theresa Ortiz