Monday, March 7, 2011

Long Beach Science Fair ‘Ag’ challenge

It is time to plan for the Long Beach Unified School District Science Fair to be held Saturday, May 21, 2011, at Cabrillo High School. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 A.M.

Each public school has their own guidelines for participation in this annual event. For example, this year Minnie Gant Elementary will be participating. The school will hold its own Science Fair exhibit, and the best entries will be chosen to represent Minnie Gant at the District Science Fair.

Each K-5 elementary school can enter no more than 18 projects at the district fair. Each middle school, high school, and K-8 elementary school is allowed no more than 24 projects.

Table 1 shows which types of projects your child can enter. For example, K and 1st graders are allowed to enter collections that address a scientific question, K through 5th graders are allowed to enter a project based on library research as opposed to experimentation, 3rd through 8th graders can enter inventions, 7th graders can enter scientific surveys, 9th through 12th graders can enter engineering projects, and all students can enter experimental projects.

The judging criteria varies between project types and is more stringent for the more advanced grades.

The basis of any Science Fair project is a problem that needs to be solved and for which the Science Fair participant doesn’t already know the answer at the outset of the project. This is a good opportunity to learn about something new.

As an extra incentive to enter your school’s Science Fair competition, the Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner will reprint some of the best entries that cover an agriculture-related topic.

Agriculture is largely science-based but often overlooked by those considering a career in science. Yet a farmer needs to understand and carefully apply a great wealth of scientific knowledge with practically every decision he or she makes, from the selection of the most suitable crop for the prevailing conditions on his or her farm, to the best time to harvest to maximize ripeness and nutritional quality while minimizing risks of loss that might happen if the crop is picked too late. 

In addition to actual farmers who work in the field, there are scientists who work in the lab (and field) to feed the world as well. They include soil scientists, crop scientists, agronomists, pest control scientists, animal scientists, and more.

Agriculture-related topics that one might consider for a Science Fair project could be about composting, seed germination, soil fertility, or even genetically modified organisms. The possibilities are boundless.

To be considered for online publication, just send a legible pdf of your Science Fair project to this address, along with a signed note from your classroom teacher verifying the authenticity of your work. All submissions will be entered into a pool from amongst which the best entries will be selected (by me) for publication after the district fair has completed.

Resources to help with your science fair project:

LBUSD Science Fair information page

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom website

Life lab website

Suggest other resources here.

Enjoy this? Please share it and comment below even if only to say "Hi!"

You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as National Science News Examiner, Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner and founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Creating Livable Communities in Long Beach on this evening’s City Council agenda

Long Beach City Council meets this evening beginning at 5:00 PM. Council Chambers are located in City Hall building at 333 West Ocean Boulevard. The 16th agenda item out of 27 total is a

“Recommendation to request City Manager to conduct community meetings to discuss ways that residents can become involved in making Long Beach a more livable, mobile and desirable place to live.”

Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, our 2nd district council representative, is co-sponsoring this  request for Creating Livable Communities, along with Councilman Robert Garcia of the 1st district, Gary DeLong of the 3rd district, and James Johnson of the 7th district. The idea, though, is that residents from ALL Long Beach Communities, not just those represented by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 7th districts, be given the opportunity to become

“more involved in the planning of local projects that enhance community character and reflect a broader group of citizens’ input” to create “more mobile, sustainable and livable communities.”

Tell your City Council representative to mandate this type of community dialogue, including not just a few community meetings but regular meetings on a continuing basis. If you don’t know who your City Council representative is, you can find out here. It is highly recommended that as many interested residents attend.

As an individual citizen of Long Beach, and as the founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows, I agvocate for and work towards a greener, healthier, more sustainable Long Beach that supports local food security through urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture is about building healthy communities in Long Beach. As is the case in San Francisco, the city of Long Beach should embrace urban agriculture into our culture’s mainstream approach towards food security.

A walkable and bicycle-friendly city is only livable if the people who walk and bicycle as their primary form of transportation have equal access to nutritious, affordable, real food. Urban agriculture within the city (not just peripheral to the city) and within all zoning districts will allow this to happen.

In addition to waiting to be heard at one of the community meetings, please voice your opinions here. What does a happier, healthier, more sustainable and livable Long Beach mean to you?

Enjoy this? Please share it and comment below even if only to say "Hi!"

You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as National Science News Examiner, Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner and founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.