Through the UA Community and School Garden Program, UA interns use garden-based lessons to help K-12 students understand abstract ideas like the carbon cycle and photosynthesis, and larger topics ranging from nutrition to food security and social justice. In the summer of 2013 eight interns attended a sustainability-in-education summer institute in New York.
The community food bank helps set up gardens for low income families in their backyard. The Compost Cats donate their compost to these gardens.
The Local Sourcing at the Student Union is run by the Compost Cats with the assistance of the head chef of the Student Union, Chef Omo. The compost from the union is used on the farm and then the crops from the farm are used to cook food for the union. The goal is to go full circle using composting and farming.
The Compost Cats have created an internship program for the members within the club. The goal is to give interns the ability to get more invovled with the community. Some interns work at the Food Bank, the Community Water Coalition, Trees with Tucson, Hydrocats, Casa Marie Soup Kitchen, etc. The Compost Cats want to make more change in the community.
The overall purpose of this project is to promote sustainable biodiversity through research, education, and outreach. This research project consists of quantifying herpetofaunal (reptile and amphibian) biodiversity at Tumamoc Hill and other fragmented areas of Sonoran Desert habitat throughout Tucson. Because snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads are among the most important consumers and prey in Sonoran desert ecosystems, sustaining herpetofaunal biodiversity is vital to the health of desert ecosystems.
The UA Campus Arboretum consists of 7,810 mature trees spread across 387 acres. Using i-Trees software, which accounts for the location, species, size, and age of each tree, students are assessing the value of campus trees both in economic terms—maintenance expenses and energy cost savings—as well as environmental—atmospheric carbon reduction and air quality benefits.
Studying Resilience in Southwestern Forests
by Paulina Jenney
University of Arizona researcher Donald Falk and his students are studying hundreds of plots in southwestern mountain ranges to understand why some forests bounce back from devastating wildfires while others give way to grassland and shrubs.
The goal of his project, he said, is to provide guidance to park and forest managers faced with restoring post-fire landscapes, or allowing other species to move in.