By Antonio Unpingco
Whatcom students Silas Maclachlin, Tyler Welch and Taylor Kent tested soil and water quality at the Growing Veterans Farm in Lynden for Dr. Kaatje Kraft’s Geology 110 class. Welch and Kent presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s national virtual poster showcase, where their digest was accepted.
As stated in their abstract, they found the nutrition levels in the soil to be “below satisfactory” and that it “needs large adjustments before harvesting can take place.” Maclachlin, Welch, and Kent’s research helped the Growing Veterans come to a decision to let the land lie fallow for about three years to help the fields recover.
After their abstract was accepted, Welch and Kent submitted their poster and video explaining their research. Then the peer review process started where three other groups watched Welch and Kent’s video, asked a question, and scored the presentation. They scored high enough on the peer review to move on to the expert panel where they would evaluate the same way as the peer review, then choose the top three groups. Welch and Kent were not a top three group, but their research will still be presented on the AGU website.
The virtual poster showcase is a new opportunity for undergraduates and graduates pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree to present their research to the science committee without needing to travel.
Kent and Welch decided to present their poster at the AGU national virtual poster showcase when instructor Dr. Kraft mentioned the showcase to her class as an opportunity to have their research recognized.
“I didn’t want to do the virtual showcase at first, but after getting closer with the people at the Growing Veterans Farm I thought that this could be a good way to get them recognized for the great work that they do.” said Kent.
The Growing Veterans Farm started in 2013 as a non-profit alternate therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and suicide prevention by combining veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture. They also work with veterans to develop their resumes and translate their skills learned in the military to new roles in civilian life. Growing Veterans has been recognized by Gov. Jay Inslee and nationally for innovation on the Hill Vets 100 list and as awardees of the J.M. Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize.