World Bio students traveled to Brechbill Farms to see how agricultural practices have evolved from primary to extraordinary in DeKalb County. Some feature items included operating and utilizing a drone to survey crops, analyzing soil components, and evaluating the overall cost of cover crops. This experience allowed the students to gain an understanding of today's agriculture from the business, science, and management aspects of cover crops.
DeKalb New Tech students are working on a project called, "Start Primary, Become Extraordinary" and the driving question is "People and places-How do you start primary and become extraordinary?" We have teamed up with Matt Bechdol, GeoSilos President, who has been teaching the students how to use GIS story mapping software and explaining how he uses this software in to help agricultural industries thrive. From the biology perspective, students are investigating how cells start primary and become extraordinary. From the geography perspective, students are researching how urban centers start primary and become extraordinary.
The field trip helped explain both of those principles in the field of agriculture. Sarah Delbecq of Brechbill Farms explained how cover crops are used in agriculture. Derek Thompson, District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service demonstrated the biological science processes of soil and importance of cover crops. A big hit and student favorite was the presentation by Jacob Walker of Walker Farms who demonstrated the use of drone technology for monitoring and managing agricultural systems. This was a very important real world perspective for students as they are revealing in their class projects how agricultural practices have evolved over time to accommodate population growth and urbanization. Matt Bechdol of GeoSilos coordinated the entire field trip and explained how he inputs the information to GIS software to help companies and farmers manage their agricultural practices.
In the afternoon, students visited the Community Foundation of DeKalb County to work with community professionals in an effort to formulate a DeKalb County Youth Interest Tech Atlas. Using GIS story mapping software introduced by Matt Bechdol, the students are compiling a DeKalb County Tech Atlas of items that are of interest to youth. For example, one group is mapping teen friendly hangouts while another group is mapping employers for young people aged 15-18. The community resources on hand to help brainstorm locations was Judy Sorg, Director of Learning Link DeKalb County, Dawn Mason, the DeKalb County GIS Senior Analyst, and Jeremiah Otis,owner of Jeremiah's coffee shop.
The entire field trip was planned and coordinated by Matt Bechdol. Our students would not have had such a rich learning field trip if it wasn't for his generous planning and community contacts. It is the voluntary efforts of people like Matt Bechdol that make DeKalb New Tech a purposeful, authentic, and relevant learning experience.