P. Sheridan1,2 , R. Horman1, S. Horman1, S. Gilbert3, A. Keeton3, & M. Schmutte3,
1. Meadowview Biol. Research Station,
2. Dept. of Biol. Sciences, Old Dominion Univ., and
3. Potomac Elementary School.
A basic challenge to educators is how to get young students involved and interested in science and biological conservation. We utilized the carnivorous yellow pitcher plant and longleaf pine to capture students imagination, answer important scientific questions, and make significant contributions to rare species recovery. We used the Toyota Tapestry Grant to fund and develop our program of scientific study and rare plant reintroduction. Students found that freezing had no effect on breaking dormancy in yellow pitcher plant seed while dilute fertilizer and soil amendments such as Miracid, Superthrive, and a solution of burned pitcher plant leaves significantly increased seedling growth over controls. Students returned over 300 pitcher plant and 95 longleaf pine seedlings to a VDOT wetland mitigation site within the historic range of the species. We think that an important reason for the success of the project was the team effort between teachers, local volunteer master gardeners, and scientific mentors. Student efforts continue with both species in a school yard "mini-nursery".