NEWS

Out in the field: Mount students apply science skills at community organizations

October 23, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Mount science students take pH samples of a local body of water as part of an experiential learning assignment through the Hoyt Foundation in Walden, N.Y. Biology and chemistry professors at Mount Saint Mary College recently took their classes to Downing Park Urban Farms in Newburgh, N.Y. and the Hoyt Foundation in Walden, N.Y. to demonstrate real world applications of what they learned in the classroom. 

The group, which consisted of Mount freshmen in the college’s First Year Experience program, first stopped at Downing Park Urban Farms for an interactive presentation with farm managers Carl Jack and Marisa Brink. The farm is part of an educational outreach project of the Center of Hope for downtown Newburgh, and is designed to demonstrate that farming is possible in urban locales. Mount students learned about the establishment of the farm in Newburgh and some of its everyday functions, including keeping predators away and encouraging bees to pollinate the crops.

RIGHT: Mount science students take pH samples of a local body of water as part of an experiential learning assignment through the Hoyt Foundation in Walden, N.Y. 

Later in the day, students also participated in an ecological study through the Hoyt Foundation, which oversees a 65-acre agricultural and forestry habitat. Students had the opportunity to catalogue the flora and fauna of the land via an ecological “treasure hunt,” which required them to apply their species location and identification, photography, and mapping skills. They also tested the various bodies of water for pH, minerals, temperature, and small inhabitants.

The students were mentored by Mount professors Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of biology; Elizabeth Harper, assistant professor of biology; Lynn Maelia, professor of chemistry; and Douglas Robinson, associate professor of biology.

The Mount's First-Year Experience (FYE) Program welcomes first-year students and fosters success as they transition into the Mount Saint Mary College community. Through specially designed programming throughout students' first year of college, the FYE program cultivates community-based learning, academic success, the personal development necessary for college life, and a connection to the Mount as first-year students become active members of a community of learners.