Community Outreach Project
I attended the Phoenix Audubon Center trip. We went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix. While we were there, we were split into groups with several other volunteers and asked to plant Milkweed and Fairy Duster plants. These plants are among the only plants utilized by the monarch butterfly. Interestingly, the Rio Salado lays right in the migration path of the monarch butterfly, making it a very important breeding ground. It was pretty manual work, but it was cool to see the sizes of the rocks we dug up and the way groups of strangers could come together to so something good for our environment. We were also asked to go down into the riverbed and dig up an invasive grass. That part was crazy! We had to dig up the root balls that had grown around river rocks and entangled themselves in the roots of other plants. The grass itself grew so thick and so tall we had the hardest time seeing the bases of the grass clusters. It was pretty fun to peel back the plants and throw my body weight onto them to keep them out of the way. The ground under the grasses was cool, too; the dirt filled with slender roots peeled away in layers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. I loved the team I worked with and the way I felt when it was all said and done. It is definitely something I would do again.
Citizen Science Project
The citizen science project I chose to participate in was the elephant expedition project on zooniverse.org. I was drawn by this project because I have an admiration for elephants and I was interested to see why scientists wanted to keep track of them. After looking more into the task, I realized that scientists are trying to study the location of these animals by setting up hidden cameras and using motion detectors to capture photos of the elephants. They are doing this to protect the location from poachers who are trying to hunt the elephants for their ivory tusks. For this project, I had to view some of the photos that were captured and classify what was in the picture. Most of the photos contained elephants, however, a few of them were just pictures of shrubs and grass, and occasionally there was a photo of a gorilla or an indistinguishable creature. Overall, I thought it was really interesting to analyze these photos and do something to help a scientist conserve wildlife.
I had the chance to go to the Rio Salado Audubon Center field trip. I had fun going out and helping the environment by planting fairy dusters. A fairy duster is a plant that provides nectar for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It’s really important that these plants are around so that these animals can eat and so they can also go and pollinate other plants. I enjoyed being out there digging holes, and removing plants that weren’t supposed to be there in order to maintain a healthy environment. My favorite part was seeing a monarch butterfly go to one of the many plants that was planted for them and enjoying the nectar it provided.
Westpark elementary school hosted curriculum night on November 2nd and invited the YHS chapter of Science NHS to attend. Several students traveled to the elementary school to demonstrate fun science!
Science is a dirty job, but Maddie is up for the challenge
Maddie and Kiara help make shaving cream tie-die
Arianna and Levi show students which elements burn different colors
Science NHS had two stations that students and their families could visit. The demonstrated how different elements burn different colors in a flame test. Arianna and Levi burned copper ions, strontium ions, and barium ions to produce flames of green, bright red, and yellow. They explained how the different colors let scientists identify elements and make fireworks!
The second station allowed students to be more hands-on. Maddie, Tamira, David, Kiara, and Jessica allow set up shaving cream with small drops of food coloring in it. Because shaving cream and food coloring don’t mix well, you can create some fun looking patterns. Paper and food coloring mix really well, so those fun tie-dyed colors make some very cool looking cards! The Science NHS members could explain that shaving cream has lots of nonpolar parts while food color and paper have more polar parts. Since food coloring and paper are more similar, they mix better. This fun bit of science makes for some super colorful creations!
Thanks to Westpark Elementary school for letting us share our love of science.
I choose a simulation called Bash the Bug on zooniverse. The task was to identify if there was any growth in bacteria after using an antibiotic or if it stayed the same. It shows a picture of the bacteria without antibiotics and multiple pictures of the bacteria with different dosages. I choose this simulation because I think it is important for scientist to understand how antibiotics are working against a certain bacteria. It’s important to be able to see this because scientist need to determine if that antibiotic is still useful against that bacteria or if they need to improve the antibiotic. It is necessary to keep up with this because a bacteria may become “immune” to the antibiotic which means that a new antibiotic needs to be used or that a higher dosage is needed to treat that bacteria. I liked participating in this project and helping to stop resistance to antibiotics.
Recently we went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center to place plants and remove invasive weeds. We began by planting milkweed plants, the sole host of the monarch butterfly. The area is in the migration path of monarch butterflies and because the area suffered a fire and lost much of the milkweed population, we replaced some of these plants. Later, we went further into the riverbed to remove some of the buffelgrass that was growing there. Buffelgrass is an invasive species of grass native to Africa which has no natural consumer to keep it under control. It is harming the local environment, so it needs to be removed as much as possible. We spent time digging up all the buffelgrass we could see in the area and bagging it to be taken away. I participated in this project because not many people go out to help their community with physical labor anymore, so I was happy to lend a hand and get the work done. I felt that this was a great project to participate in because it’s very important to take care of our environment, and I felt great afterward knowing that I helped in the community.
Going to Audubon was a lot of fun, we were able to plant plants, and pull out some bull grass. It was my first time planting, it was a great experience also very funny. Because while we were making the holes to put the plants in, there was huge rocks. These rocks were so big, that they took up most of the space, because of that when we pulled them out it made the holes bigger. So before we inserted the plants we had to put some sand in, so that way the plant wouldn’t be so deep into the ground. Then when we were pulling out the bull grass, they were a hassle. Overall, i really enjoyed going to Audubon and having to plant for the first time with my friends, while also making new ones. It’s a great way to get out and help nature by planting much needed plants to make sure the monarch butterflies are fed, and the hummingbirds.