“Community-based learning opportunities are so important to student learning,” said Sandra Brown, LFS Lecturer and Research Associate. “With this course, students are sampling soil and interpreting data from a practical, real world situation. It makes their learning experience a lot more tangible when they see the application, as opposed to being given a data set and told what the issues are.”
A group of five students chose to analyze the soil at the vegetable garden at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. Kiwassa serves the food grown in their garden to seniors and pre-school students, and were concerned about whether there was enough carbon in their compost. After sampling the soil and the compost, the students interpreted the results and presented their recommendations.
“Their soil was in good shape, but we suggested that they implement a crop rotation program and amend with compost or manure,” said Heather Verdin, a fourth year Global Resource Systems (GRS) student.
Verdin and her classmates also joined forces with a second group of APBI 402 students working on a soil project at Tillicum Community Annex Elementary School, helping them conduct soil workshops for more than 80 K-4 students.
In March, Verdin and the four other students — Emma Avery, Yael Harr, Michelle Radley, and Nicol Read — won first place and People’s Choice Award for their research poster based on the Kiwassa Neighbourhood House project from the Pacific Regional Soil Science Society.