Dr. Holly Travis from the IUP Biology Department presented “Engaging Pre-Service Teachers and Elementary School Students in the Forestry Reclamation Approach through Earthworm Inoculation” at the Joint Mining Reclamation Conference: Bridging Reclamation, Science and the Community, held in Pittsburgh from June 5 to 10, 2010.
Dr. Travis described a collaboration with Dr. Patrick Angel (Office of Surface Mining and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative), OSM Vista volunteer Elizabeth Fees (Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team), IUP pre-service elementary students completing their life science content course, and teachers and students in areas served by current reforestation efforts.
IUP pre-service teachers developed earthworm lesson plans and rearing protocols which were distributed to teachers in Virginia and Kentucky. Elementary and middle school students in these areas then raised and released earthworms in old surface mine reclamation areas where young trees had been planted in order to increase tree survival.
A complete description of this project was also published in the Proceedings for the 2010 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation.