USDA APHIS Sponsors Ag-DISCOVERY Camp

Sixteen high school students – nine girls and seven boys – from across North Carolina, from Florida, and from New York, participated in the third year of this camp sponsored by USDA APHIS and coordinated by NCSU’s The Science House. North Carolina State University’s Department of Plant Pathology worked with professionals from the USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine unit here in Raleigh to offer a variety of hands-on laboratory and field experiences to students. Some examples included carrying out DNA PCR and gel electrophoresis on potato late blight disease, setting field traps and lures to sample insect populations in diverse habitats, participating in an inspection trip focusing on policy requirements for imported foods, visiting a sustainable agriculture laboratory farm, and visiting our national seed laboratory.
Students worked in small groups to carry out a research project based on hypotheses they developed concerning various plant pathogens. The projects focused on nematode populations in various habitats, penicillium mold growth on oranges, wind exposure and the incidence of corn smut mold, and the effect of uV radiation on mold development. Students presented their results and shared their displayed projects during closing ceremonies on August 1.

Along with their hard work, students had a chance to have fun with a trip to an area water park and a visit to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

For more information about Ag-DISCOVERY 2008 and for applications for Ag-DISCOVERY 2009, please check the website,

http://www.science-house.org/student/agdiscovery/index.html