Ryan Thatcher and Jacob Antonovich stand at their poster ready to talk about their research at AGU 2022, Chicago, IL.

^ Downtown Chicago from the 25th floor of the Marriott Marquis, AGU 2022.  Photo: Tom Lane

Last week High School students Jacob Antonovich and Ryan Thatcher with HS science teacher Tom Lane traveled to Chicago to present research involving Microbial Respiration in Different Vermont Land Use Types.  This was the first time BFA students have communicated scientific research funded completely by the Franklin West Supervisory Union at this level.

^ Left to right: Ryan Thatcher and Jacob Antonovich stand at their poster ready to talk about their research at AGU 2022, Chicago, IL.  Photo: Tom Lane

The American Geophysical Union Annual Fall Meeting is the largest gathering of geophysical scientists in the world.  This year it featured research from 23,000+ scientists.  Through the Bright Stars Program high school students are also allowed to communicate their research here.  Ryan and Jacob became interested in looking at microbial respiration in different land use types when their teacher Mr. Lane asked them if they wanted to do some research measuring respiration rates of microbes using soda lime.  After procuring funding for materials from Principal Noonan at BFA, the students and their teacher as an after school project decided to look for variation in microbial respiration rates in the two dominant land use types in Vermont: logged forest and agricultural land.  Using 5 gallon buckets as collection chambers, they gathered data during the spring months and summer months at several locations.  They then compared these rates to data collected at Cambridge Old Growth Forest.

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  1. Sampling site at Cambridge Old Growth Forest, Cambridge, VT
  2. Sampling site at Woods Hollow Rd.  Westford, VT.
  3. Sampling site at Raegan Decker’s grandfathers hayfield, Jeffersonville, VT

While at the conference from Tuesday through Thursday last week students and their teacher attended some of the thousands of oral presentations, lectures and poster sessions.  They had the opportunity to meet and talk with scientists Mr. Lane works with, Dr. Ted Schuur (University of Northern Arizona) and Dr. Marguerite Mauritz (University of Texas, El Paso).  Dr. Schuur through the National Science Foundation has funded BFA-Fairfax student fieldwork trips to Alaska during June 2019 and June 2022.  As well as scientists eminent in the Permafrost world, retired Prof. Emeritus Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky and head of the Alaska Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab Dr. Dmitry Nicolski. Dr. Nicolski is excited to include BFA-Fairfax students in UAF Permafrost Lab outreach opportunities this next grant cycle.

^ Left to right: Dr. Ted Schuur (University of Northern Arizona), Jacob Antonovich, Ryan Thatcher in the Poster hall at AGU 2022.  Photo: Tom Lane

^ Left to right: Dr. Marguerite Mauritz (University of Texas, El Paso), Ryan Thatcher, Jacob Antonovich talk about Microbial Respiration at Thursday’s poster session, AGU 2022.  Photo: Tom Lane

^ Retired Prof. Emeritus Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky gives an oral presentation titled, “Some Problems With Applications of Simplified Equations for Estimation of Active Layer Thickness Increase and Long-Term Permafrost Thawing in Warming Climate”.  To his left chairing the panel is head of the Univ. of AK Permafrost Lab, Dr. Dmitry Nicolski.  Photo: Tom Lane

One of Jacob’s most interesting times was attending a lecture by Anastasios Tsonis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee titled, “Randomness:  A Property of the Mathematical and Physical Systems.  Ryan on the other hand enjoyed speaking with researchers at their posters, in particular Sergei Rybakov about, “Using Very-Low-Frequency, Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Temperature Dynamics in Warm Discontinuous Permafrost Study”.

^ Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks graduate student Sergei Rybakov talks about his studies using electrical tomography with Ryan and Jacob. Tuesday, Dec. 13, AGU 2022.  Photo: Tom Lane

^ Left to right: Jacob Antonovich, Ryan Thatcher and Mr. Lane at American Geophysical Fall Meeting, Chicago, IL.

^ Jacob Antonovich and Ryan Thatcher playing cornhole at AGU 2022, Chicago, IL