THE FWSU STORY: BFA Fairfax Students Communicate Lake Champlain Basin Science #AGU17

BFA students Lily Sweet, Malachi Witt, their teacher Mr. Lane and Project Manager for St. Michael’s College VT EPSCoR CWDD Livia Donicova traveled to the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

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At the largest geophysical conference in the world, Malachi and Lily presented a poster and talked to a few of the 23,000+ scientists in attendance about their research.

Logos for CWDD, BREE, and VT EPSCOR

Malachi and Lily have been conducting research this past year on phosphate movement and factors contributing to stream health in Black Creek.  Black Creek begins north of Cambridge, VT and flows 27 miles or so along Route 108, through East Fairfield and Sheldon. It is the last major tributary to the Missisquoi R. prior to its outflow into Missisquoi Bay.

Research on phosphate movement at Black Creek.

Images taken of the headwaters, near midpoint, and the mouth of Black Creek.

Their research project is part of a statewide (a few teams from Puerto Rico and New York are also included) program based out of St. Michael’s College and the University of Vermont.  The VT EPSCoR program is a National Science Foundation-funded program designed to encourage research nationwide.

Lily Sweet and Malachi Witt at their poster in the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA

Lily Sweet and Malachi Witt at their poster in the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA

Their trip to New Orleans was funded by the VT EPSCoR /CWDD/BREE program.  In addition to presenting their poster through the Bright STaRS Program At AGU Lily and Malachi had a full schedule of poster presentations, oral presentations, and lectures by scientists from around the world.  Much of the “fresh, hot science” from the convention continues to be reported in the national and international media.

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Malachi Witt discusses phosphate movement with a visiting scientist at the AGU poster hall in New Orleans, LA

The Shoemaker Lecture on Tuesday, 12/12 was a highlight for Lily.  Titled, “ The New Jupiter as Revealed by Juno” it featured information and photographs from Juno’s mission to Jupiter never before seen by the public.

Image of the surface of Jupiter taken by Juno Mission shown at AGU Shoemaker Lecture.

Image of the surface of Jupiter taken by Juno Mission shown at AGU Shoemaker Lecture.

Malachi’s favorite part of the convention was the Sharp Lecture, “From Tectonics to Tractors: New insight into Earth’s changing surface” This talk was about weathering, erosion, and soil.  It highlighted his interest in agriculture research. In addition to making connections and accessing current data for use in the science classes he teaches at BFA Mr. Lane met with a few of the scientists he works within Permafrost research.

Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky from University of Alaska-Fairbanks Geophysical Institute presents research indicating a rise in permafrost temperatures across Alaska

Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky from University of Alaska-Fairbanks Geophysical Institute presents research indicating a rise in permafrost temperatures across Alaska

During the 5-day conference, Mr. Lane and his students had a few hours to explore the French Quarter.  This area is the oldest part of New Orleans and dates from the early 1700’s when the city was under Spanish rule.  It features early colonial French and Spanish architectural, as well as a French Market and Jackson Square.

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Malachi, Lily and Livia in Jackson Square, site of the acquisition in 1803 of Louisiana territory pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase.

Attending and communicating science at AGU Fall Meeting was a great experience. We want to say a huge thank-you to the VT EPSCoR, CWDD, BREE Program for this memorable opportunity as well as providing students from around Vermont with authentic research experiences.

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