Science

Children urged to honor Earth Day all year long

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   “Bob” the crayfish was a big hit at the eighth annual Earth Day Community Celebration on Sunday. But it was his bigger buddy “Chompers” with very active pinchers that drew shrieks from the young children. “You can touch a Maumee River crayfish and go tell your friends,” tempted Christina Kuchle, of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The annual Earth Day event on the open field next to the Montessori School in Bowling Green was focused on fun – with the hope that children and their parents would go home knowing a bit more about how to protect the environment. “It kind of ties everything together,” said Amanda Gamby, of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. “It brings us all together for one last hurrah. It drives home the Earth Day, Every Day message.” At one booth, Jamie Sands of the Wood County Park District was pushing the message that bees are not bad. Though much maligned creatures, they are very important to humans, she said. “Ninety-five percent of what we eat is possible because of pollinators,” Sands said. “We love bees. Yeaaaaa bees.” Next to the booth, children were trying to “pollinate” towering flowers by throwing balls into the centers of the posies. “We want them to know the importance of pollinators and the importance of pollination,” Sands said. And in the process, maybe parents were learning a bit, too. Instead of spraying to kill bee hives, Sands suggested a phone call instead. “There are agencies they can call to move the nests,” she said. “We need bees.” The Bowling…

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Top scientists engage youngsters in Kids’ Tech University at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Paul Morris knows that Kids’ Tech University presented at Bowling Green State University has a lot going for it. Each of the four weeks features an esteemed scientist who knows how to talk to children age 9 to 12 about their research. And then the kids have carefully designed activities related to the science that allow students to do the work of science themselves. Then there’s Morris’ hair. He sports a frizzy mop of white hair. Morris said he’s gotten enough comments on it, he’s decided to stop cutting his hair. “I look the part.” It’s a silly way to get across a key element of the program. “The idea that children are being directed by a real scientist that’s part of the excitement we want to capture.” Registration is now underway for the program that runs four Saturdays throughout the semester starting Feb. 11 and continuing Feb. 25, March 18, and April 8. Each starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. or so. Registration is $90. Visit http://kidstechuniversity-bgsu.vbi.vt.edu/. The mission is to get children excited about science, technology, engineering and math before they get into middle school. The Feb. 11 session will feature Dr. Jennifer M. DeBruyn, who works at the Body Farm in Tennessee, a lab which studies decomposition of human bodies. DeBruyn is a microbiologist who studies how all manner of matter decomposes. Her talk is: “Life after Death: Exploring the decomposer organisms that recycle corpses back to soil.” In the afternoon, Morris said, students will do an array of experiments involved in forensics, including fingerprinting and DNA analysis…


Ohio EPA: Lake Erie ‘impaired’ status unnecessary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Commissioners were asked this year by an environmentalist to sign onto a request that Lake Erie’s Western Basin be declared “impaired.” They were also asked this year by a farmer to not seek the “impaired” designation. Not certain of the best course of action, the commissioners asked the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help clear up the issue. But the issue seemed to get more complicated instead. “As clear as mud,” Karl Gebhardt said as he left the commissioners’ office on Tuesday. Gebhardt, deputy director of the Ohio EPA Water Resources and Lake Erie Programs and executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, said the phosphorus causing algae problems in the lake is already being worked on by the state – and federal involvement is not needed. Ohio EPA officials hear the complaints: “Why is Lake Erie green? Why can’t my grandchildren go swimming in the lake?” But efforts are already underway, Gebhardt said. Based on the marine life in the lake, the shoreline of Lake Erie has already been declared “impaired.” And based on the water treatment steps needed, the areas of Lake Erie around water intakes have been declared “impaired.” The U.S. EPA would like Ohio to designate the Western Lake Erie Basin as impaired, Gebhardt said. But there is currently no science-based criteria for that designation. “We really want to base this on science,” he told the county commissioners. Ohio EPA officials have asked the U.S. EPA to establish “impaired” criteria for open waters. But so far, that has not been done. “We’re saying it’s multi-jurisdictional,”…


BGSU graduate Julia Arroyo receives sociology fellowship

BGSU alumna Julia Arroyo ’14 is one of five individuals selected for the American Sociological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program. The national program recognizes and supports exceptional minority Ph.D. candidates. Arroyo, who is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Florida, worked as a research assistant at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at BGSU. Arroyo’s research interests include race and ethnicity, child welfare systems and families, children and youth. Her work promotes positive outcomes among racial-ethnic minority youth and youth in zero-parent households, which includes living with grandparents or foster parents, and creates space for their experiences in theories of their well-being. Her dissertation examines the changing prevalence and characteristics of zero-parent households in the United States. Applying qualitative and quantitative methods, it links the formation of these households, and the destinies of those within them, to broader social, economic and political circumstances. Arroyo’s co-authored works address historical change in women’s age at first birth and marriage, and child welfare caseworkers’ attitudes toward nonresident fathers. Among works that are forthcoming are an interdisciplinary brief on preventing children’s use of racial-ethnic stereotypes and a review of “Spheres of Influence” by Massey and Brodmann (2014). Her in-progress works problematize the role of caseworkers’ attitudes in father-engagement outcomes, critique measurements of family environments and characterize young adult pathways out of non-parental households. Her awards include the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research summer program’s Clifford C. Clogg Scholarship (2014); UF Sociology, Criminology and Law’s Gorman Award for Innovative Methods (2014), and the UF Connor Dissertation Award (2016). Learn more about the Minority Fellowship Program.


STEM in the Park makes learning loud, messy & fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Learning can be pretty loud and messy. Just ask the kids covered in foam bubbles. Or the kids making concrete. Or the ones building rockets. For the seventh year in a row, a whole lot of learning masqueraded as fun at STEM in the Park at Bowling Green State University on Saturday. “We want to make learning fun and we want to spark interest in the STEM fields” of science, technology, engineering and math, said Jenna Pollock, coordinator of the event organized by the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education. An estimated 5,000 grade school kids, their parents and volunteers showed up to play. All the events were hands-on, with the messier ones relegated to the outside. There was a “Cootie Camp,” where kids could enter a black tent to get a peek at the germs covering them. There was a giant foam machine shooting foamy bubbles all over kids. There was a sloth and a vulture from the Toledo Zoo. And yes, before you ask, this is education – just in a sneaky form. “We do make it fun,” Pollock said. “They are learning without thinking they are learning.” One outside tent was devoted completely to water issues. Children – and in some cases, their inquisitive parents – got to use a remotely operated vehicle, similar to those used by oceanographers to study shipwrecks and coral reefs that are too deep for divers to venture. “They go places man cannot,” explained Matt Debelak, of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Another display showed kids about erosion in watersheds. Powdered hot chocolate…


Wendy Manning appointed president elect of national population association

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Wendy Manning, Distinguished Research Professor of sociology, is president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA). She was elected to the position at the association’s recent conference. Manning, who is director of BGSU’s Center for Family and Demographic Research and co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR), begins her term in January 2017 and will be president in 2018. Her key duties include organizing the 2018 annual meeting and delivering the 2018 presidential address. “I am honored and excited about the position,” Manning said. She has been actively involved with PAA, serving on several committees, as a member of the board and as vice president. She credits the visibility and strong reputation of BGSU and her colleagues as an important factor in winning the election. Manning is a family demographer; her research examines how family members define and understand their obligations to each other in an era of increasingly diverse and complex family relationships. She led the research for the ASA Amicus Brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court in same-sex marriage cases. She has examined the meaning of cohabitation with her work on the measurement of cohabitation, fertility in cohabiting unions, the stability of cohabiting unions, transitions to marriage and implications of cohabitation for adult and child well-being. Her work has focused on adolescent sexual decision-making as well as the patterning and quality of young adult relationships. “This is a significant achievement in Wendy’s exceptionally distinguished career,” said Dr. Susan Brown, NCFMR co-director with Manning and chair of the Department of Sociology. “Simply put, she is a luminary in…


BGSU hosting STEM in the park, Sept. 24

From BGSU MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS STEM in the Park, a free family day of hands-on fun at Bowling Green State University, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Perry Field House, with plenty of free parking available. STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the Park will feature interactive displays and activities created by community partners, local businesses and area universities to engage children of all ages in the STEM fields. More than 140 unique hands-on STEM activity stations will be offered for individuals and families to enjoy. This event allows participants to make ice cream, dabble in robotics, launch pop rockets, pet lizards and much more. Everyone who attends the event will receive an event map, take home free STEM materials and activity ideas, and enjoy a complimentary catered lunch. Last year’s event drew more than 4,300 visitors from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Back by popular demand is the “Science of Sports” zone, which displays activity stations that examine how fast participants can run, how high participants can jump, and how far participants can throw a ball. New this year will be a golf simulator where participants can take part in the longest drive contest. A “Roots to STEM Pre K-2” zone also returns this year, which features activities that cater specifically to younger children. The STEM Stage will once again feature super-sized demonstrations from Imagination Station and the Soar & Explore Bird Show presented by the Toledo Zoo. New activities for 2016 include the H2O Zone, where visitors can explore the science behind all of water’s amazing uses; the Food Science…