WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- WWG — Last week the Westbrook Walnut Grove Science and Agriculture received an important boost in their respective science and ag programs. The school has been a part of the SIREN (Sustainable Inquiry Research and Education Network) and currently has two classes involving hydroponics.
Science teacher Angie Larson is teaching a horticultural class involving hydroponics, while ag teacher Josh Barron is teaching a seventh grade science class using hydroponics.
The two classes, for research purposes, need highly accurate testing equipment to accurately record the results of their experiments.
Wednesday afternoon Pauline Nickel of head of University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center at Lamberton, Ken Kraemer of SWROC K-12 educational specialist, Dale Mischke, and Jim Jorgenson of Minnesota Soybean Producers, and Wendy Wendt, Regional communications Specialist of the Soybean Producers were on hand to present two pieces of sophisticated test equipment.
The two pieces of equipment included a precision balance scale which can measure to the thousands of a gram. It can be connected to the computer so charts and graphs can be made to display test results. Josh Barron said “it is needed to measure out micro and macro nutrients for the hydroponic experiments.”
The new PH test meter is another sophisticated piece of equipment which is highly accurate, and is the same meter used at the Southwest Research Center. It has its own magnetic mixing which makes PH readings more consistent and accurate. It will help to get more accurate test results in the current hydroponic tests which are being conducted by the horticulture and science classes.
Nickel said, “Westbrook Walnut Grove schools have always had a large amount of student participation in our outreach programs. We are working to get more students in science and ag science programs.”
Larson said, “I am very excited to have this new equipment available to us. The PH meter will be a very high tech piece for the students to use.”
“This will be a real benefit to our students to be able to make very accurate measurements for our experiments,” Barron said.
Sustainable agriculture is the key to keeping our ag partners profitable so farmers can remain a viable part of the rural economy,” said Nickel.
The Southwest Research and Outreach Center has provided all the chemicals, and an electronic caliper to measure the stem thickness of the plants, in the hydroponic experiments being conducted by Larson and Barron’s classes.
The plants are given different sets of nutrients to compare the proficiency of the different nutrients.
One group will get the base nutrients, and others will get various amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Some of the funding for the Southwest Research and Outreach Center comes from the checkoff program of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
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