Woodside High and CNU partner as part of Fear to Hope Project
Posted: September 16, 2022
At Woodside High School, students in Michael Platt's environmental science classes are partnering with the biology department at Christopher Newport University to investigate the effects of salt water on Atlantic white cedars.
The research supports "Fear to Hope," a project designed by Dr. Robert Atkinson, CNU biology professor, to study and increase awareness of sea level rise and the importance of healthy wetlands. In the project model, environmental biology students from CNU mentor high school science students as they conduct hands-on research.
Allison Burbach, a senior at CNU studying environmental biology, is the project manager for the Woodside High collaboration. She visited the classes to introduce the program and assist students in planting cedar seedlings for their study.
The class has learned how, as sea level rises, salty and brackish water encroach on coastal forests, killing trees and causing "ghost forests" to form. Platt's class of mostly ninth graders will study how Atlantic white cedar saplings are affected by saltwater and attempt to determine if the saplings can recover from saltwater exposure.
The students are preparing to present their findings to other area students and CNU faculty in a symposium next spring.