Confronting Climate Change
Members of our college community were in attendance at “Confronting Climate Change: Its Impacts on New York’s Agriculture, Forests, and Neighborhood Landscapes” on June 6th . The NYS Forester and 3 professors from Cornell gave lectures on Soil Health. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with leaders from the political sector and academia in the field.
The program was organized by the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District. Also in attendance were Carol Capobianco (Director, Native Plant Center) and Judith Bukofser (Adjunct Professor, Biology). This conference was well-positioned for the class as their summer research project focuses on analyzing the soil biome in disturbed and undisturbed ecosystems in Westchester County. The Summer Research Academy is part of the WCC/MERCY STEM Scholars program which helps students prepare for future careers in various STEM fields.
Westchester Community College students are connecting what they learned from this conference with the research we are doing in the lab on the structure, chemistry and biological activity and function within the soil. We have looked at biological indicators such as total DNA content within the soil (isolate and quantitated DNA), Active Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium level and hope to do soil respiration rate this week to characterize the health of the soil food web in distinct environments along the Old Croton Aqueduct State trail way, a corridor ecosystem.