Feb 062011

Last fall, students and science teachers working with graduate students at KBS planted the seeds for the “BEST” BioEnergy SusTainability Schoolyard Research Network.  The network includes > 300 research plots at 22 schools in 11 districts in six counties in southwest Michigan. The research plots will mimic long-term, collaborative research at the KBS Long Term Ecological Research site and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. KBS faculty, staff, and graduate students are collaborating with teachers on experimental design, research protocols, and curriculum development for the research network. Students planted switchgrass and native prairie seeds on their research plots. Both are crops that researchers at KBS are studying for their potential value as bioenergy crops. Over the next five years, students will make observations and take measurements about the biodiversity, productivity, and soil quality on these plots to answer the question, “Can we grow our fuel and our flowers and butterflies too?”