Food For Thought
Dates: June 2nd-13th
How much does your meal cost the environment? Have you ever wondered where the apple in your lunchbox came from? In this module, we’ll explore where the food that we eat comes from and how it impacts our individual ecological footprints. We’ll visit local farms to learn about varying farming techniques and practices. We’ll explore the different techniques farmers use to maximize yield during our short growing season and keep pests away. We will also do some of our own gardening, as we study photosynthesis, respiration, and the carbon cycle. We will develop and conduct an experiment to measure the carbon dioxide emitted from our gardens. We will also investigate the impacts of large-scale grocery operations and the fast food industry, and compare them to our local choices, which include subsistence foods, such as berries, fish, and wild game. We will learn food preservation techniques and analyze the environmental impact of canning food compared to storing it in the freezer. Students will leave this module with a greater understanding of how the food they eat affects their personal health and the health of their environment. And yes, we will be sampling some of our local foods, so some days they will even leave with a full belly!
Sally Kieper has a B.A. in Elementary Education and Environmental Education. She also has a B.S. in Natural Resources: Environmental Education and Interpretations with a minor in Camp and Youth Agency Administration and Programming. In addition to her education, Sally has extensive experience as a teacher and is currently a teacher for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Aside from her teaching experience in a classroom, Sally was also the Program Head of Hidden Villa Summer Camp and an instructor for Upham Woods 4-H Environmental Education Center, where she taught ecology lessons and led outdoor activities for youth grades K-12.
Rebecca is a M.S. student in the Biology and Wildlife department at UAF. Her research focuses on boreal wetland ecology and permafrost thaw cycles. Currently, much of interior Alaska is underlain with discontinuous permafrost but climate change is taking its toll on frozen soils. Increases in disturbance events, such as drought and fire, warmer air temperatures, and longer summers, have created widespread thaw of permafrost throughout Alaska. As a result, ecosystems shift from frozen spruce forests to soggy wetlands and lakes. Rebecca is monitoring these shifts by studying changes in soil conditions, plant growth, and nutrient cycles to gain a better understanding of the possible effects of climate change.
Before attending UAF, Rebecca work on a variety of science ventures, both as an undergraduate and as a technician. At George Washington University in Washington D.C., she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science, and went on to work for the USGS, the US Forest Service, the state of Colorado, and private consulting firms on various wildlife and ecology survey, monitoring, and research projects. Additionally, Rebecca can often be found running, skiing, and generally frolicking on trails throughout the Fairbanks area, with the occasional stop to pick berries, identify a rare flower, or just take in the beauty of Alaska.