Picerne Family Foundation

• GSP Program Description
   – OHS

• Application &
   Information – OHS

• South Africa Expedition
   Details – OHS

• Required GSP
   Documents – OHS

• Local Sustainability
   Projects – OHS

• Expedition Video OHS

• Return to GSP
   Home Page
Local Sustainability Projects - Orange High School

OHS - Local Sustainability ProjectA cornerstone of the Global Sustainability Project (GSP) is the requirement that students provide 40 hours of direct service to a nature conservancy, university or nonprofit ecology organization in their community. The Foundation strongly believes that students should develop an ethic of responsibility for their environment, both locally and globally. The Foundation requires this hands-on service to allow the students to “pay forward” the opportunity they have been afforded in participating in the Earthwatch expedition.

The GSP students from Orange High School are assisting Dr. Jennifer Funk and Dr. Jason Keller in their research at Chapman University. Dr. Funk’s research is aimed at understanding how plants respond to reduced water availability, the factors contribute to plant invasiveness, and the functional traits of invasive and native species. Research in Dr. Keller’s lab is focused on understanding how ecosystems function and how these functions will respond to ongoing global change. Most of his research explores anaerobic carbon cycling in wetland ecosystems, ranging from northern peatlands to coastal salt marshes.

Students complete many weekly research tasks in the lab at Chapman University, including sample preparation, seed measurements, root measurements and data entry. Students also take precise measurements of small samples of leaf and soil matter for chemical analysis. Using a microbalance, they prepare small tins containing samples and run them against a standard curve for comparison. These samples are also analyzed for both nitrogen and carbon content, revealing important characteristics of their growth and storage capacities.

Fieldwork allows the students to participate in multiple levels of the research and gain a well-rounded understanding of the overall project. At Dr. Funk’s field site, students measure plant growth under different watering conditions at multiple points throughout the growing season. They also maintain plants and participate in field site maintenance.

Students keep a journal of their activities and findings. They discuss the progress of the research studies and address thoughts and questions related to the research in bi-monthly meetings. The students hope to make an academic poster presentation of their findings on the Chapman University Campus at the end of the school year.