Aug 232011

In the fall of 2010, 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 across 15 districts in six counties in southwest Michigan.

The research plots 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?

Below you will find the electronic versions of the contents of our BEST Plots Research Network binders, including introductory materials, protocols, lesson plans, and resources. Please click on one of the following six posts to access these materials.

If you are a K-12 Partnership teacher whose school has BEST plots and you would like to receive a binder, please contact Sarah at