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Beloit Memorial Students Share Research Findings in Ohio

A group of 13 Beloit Memorial students are in Toledo, Ohio this week adding their scientific findings to a worldwide effort to learn more about how the world works.

The students have been collecting data during the school year on a variety of ecological subjects — atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and pedosphere (soil) — and they are presenting their findings in the GLOBE Midwest Regional Student Research Symposium.

GLOBE stands for Global Learnings and Observations to Benefit the Environment and it’s supported by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. State Department.

The goal is to increase environmental awareness, contribute to increased scientific understanding of the Earth and support improved student achievement in science and math. It’s already changed the educational course of one of the Beloit students.

“Before GLOBE, my plan was to major in astronomy and astrophysics,” said Keala Eaton, who is participating in the program for the second straight year. “Now, I’m planning on studying ecology and evolutionary biology. I just really liked going out and figuring out things about the area around me.”

As a junior, Eaton, who plans on attending University of Wisconsin — Whitewater at Rock County before transferring to UW-Madison, spent the year measuring the soil moisture content in a fertilized lawn in front of the BMHS tennis courts and comparing it to the moisture content of the school’s native species garden.

This year, she wanted to compare the temperature and humidity differences between rural and urban areas. She spent the year taking readings at the Welty Environmental Center at Big Hill Park and Beloit Memorial High School. She said there was a definite difference consistently throughout the year.

“It shows the benefit of having more vegetation instead of just concrete,” she said.

Beloit Memorial High School is taking part in GLOBE because of a three-year grant. Heidi Andre, who is retiring after 40 years of teaching science in Beloit, was part of the group applying for the grant and she headed up the three-year project.

The grant paid for the teacher training and equipment and the trips last year to Madison and this year to Toledo. A couple of younger science teachers are interested in keeping the program going. The only real cost going forward is for the annual Midwest symposiums, which are moved among Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio.

Source: Beloit Daily News