Minorities and Limited Resources Conference in Sikeston, Missouri

Friday, March 11, 2016

By Nadia Navarrete-Tindall

The Minorities and Limited Resources Farmers Conference hosted by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension took place on March 4th, 2016 at the Clinton Community Center in Sikeston, Missouri. Target groups for this conference where minority and limited resources farmers, producers and others interested in farming and gardening.  Approximately 100 people participated from different locations in the Bootheel (photo top left), St. Louis and Cape Girardeau.

Topics included soil conservation, native plants for pollinators, integrated pest management, plant diseases, basics of honey bee production, composting, community gardens and USDA agencies discussed about services and opportunities for small farming operations.  EPSCOR members Pat Guinan from MU-Extension (photo middle right) of the Climate team offered presentation about Missouri Bootheel Climate Trends and Weather Extremes. Community Team members: Nadia Navarrete-Tindall presented information about Native Plants: Uses and Benefits and made emphasis on vegetation from the Bootheel. Jeff Hargrove and student interns Timothy Fields and Alana Washing helped facilitate at the conference. Wes Buchheit presented a poster about birds from local communities in the Bootheel with preliminary results from surveys conducted in 2015.

Educational exhibits (photo bottom left) by Lincoln University Programs and federal and state agencies including the NRCS, FSA, LU-Native Plants Program, Quails Forever, USDA Health Department, USDA Rural Development, LU-ISFOP and others offered additional information about sustainable agriculture.  The conference was organized by the Native Plants Program and Horticulture Program from Lincoln University Cooperative Extension with funding from NRCS, USDA and EPSCoR. A workshop about High Tunnel Construction is scheduled for April 16 and a Farm Tour will be offered in mid-Summer in 2016.


Advocating Translational Genetics/Genomics Conference in St. Louis (ATGC-STL)

Event date(s): Saturday, February 27, 2016
Location: Harris-Stowe State University, 3026 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103

Harris-Stowe State University will be hosting the ATGC-STL Genetics Symposium on February 27th, 2016.

Poster Abstracts are due on February 17.  Instructions to submit an abstract can be found at the ATGC-STL Call for Abstracts page.

Advocating Translational Genetics/Genomics Conference in St. Louis (ATGC-STL) Trainee-organized symposium hosted by Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) aims to pioneer early exposure to quality research in genetics, and to promote genetic literacy of under-represented student populations at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. The symposium will offer activities for a wide range of genetics scholars and provide the opportunity for students to present their work in the genetics field, interact with university faculty, and obtain information on undergraduate and graduate level opportunities in genetics research.

For more information about the symposium, visit the ATGC-STL website and Twitter.  To register, click here.

Citizen Science 2015 Conference

San Jose, CA, February 11-12, 2015

Written by Sandra Arango-Caro

March 11, 2015

The Citizen Science 2015 was the inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association (CSA). More than 600 people from 25 countries participated. Anyone involved in citizen science was invited to attend the conference. Attendees included citizen science participants, researchers, project leaders, educators, technology specialists, evaluators, and others – representing many disciplines including astronomy, molecular biology, human and environmental health, psychology, linguistics, environmental justice, biodiversity, conservation biology, public health, genetics, engineering, cyber technology, gaming, and more – at multiple levels of expertise.

The six main themes of the conference were:

  • Tackling Grand Challenges and Everyday Problems with Citizen Science
  • Broadening Engagement to Foster Diversity and Inclusion
  • Making Education and Lifelong Learning Connections (K-12, university, informal)
  • Digital Opportunities and Challenges in Citizen Science
  • Research on and Evaluation of the Citizen Science Experience
  • Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Managing Citizen Science Projects and Programs

Sandra Arango-Caro (right) speaking with another Citizen Science Conference participant about the MO DIRT program.

The MO DIRT project was presented in a poster format under the theme Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Managing Citizen Science Projects and Programs. The poster was with a set of posters related to climate change. Among the discussions with the other presenters, it was particularly interesting to learn about a new initiative for the development of a National Climate Indicators System by the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (The Wilson Center), and the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science. Among the preliminary indicators of physical climate changes in this initiative, soil moisture was the only soil variable. This could be important in the near future, as MO DIRT participants will collect data on soil respiration, among other variables, to explore the possibility of using the rate of soil respiration as another indicator of physical climate change. The contact persons for this new initiative are: Melissa A. Kenney (Melissa [dot] kenney [at] noaa [dot] gov) and Emily Therese Cloyd (ecloyd [at] usgcrp [dot] gov).

The oral presentations I attended were related to technology (sensors, phone apps, GPS, social media) and best practices (evaluation, intellectual property law, ethics, monitoring, lessons learned) (See the attached program). Posters and oral presentations from this conference are available at

Other sessions attended included a symposium on Citizen Microbiology and an open roundtable on agriculture. At this last event, I had the opportunity to meet with Peter Donovan from the Soil Carbon Coalition (managingwholes [dot] com [at] gmail [dot] com, We discussed his experiences measuring soil respiration. He offered his advice on setting up a phone app for data collection and gave me contact information on additional people with experience measuring soil respiration.

It is important to highlight that among all oral presentations and posters, MO DIRT was the only project specifically working on soils. This suggests that soils-related citizen science is an area with many opportunities to explore.


MO DIRT - Missourians Doing Impact Research Together - A project to examine the soil-climate interface with citizen scientists.

The Missouri Transect project, recently funded by the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program, uses different scientific approaches to study and predict the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity and native flora in Missouri, and how stakeholder communities are likely to be affected by and respond to the challenges of changing climate. Important components of The Missouri Transect are public education and outreach efforts. MO DIRT - Missourians Doing Impact Research Together, is a new citizen science initiative that will crowdsource the collection of data on soil health and reciprocal soil-climate interactions across the state. Soils store vast amounts of organic carbon and the CO2 flux from soils to the atmosphere (soil respiration) is one of the largest fluxes in the global carbon cycle. Changes in climate due to an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere are expected to be influenced by changes in soil respiration. Missouri citizens, including K-12 students, equipped with training, guidelines, and soil quality test kits, will collect and electronically record relevant data to contribute to the overall research efforts. All participants can experience science-based enrichment activities to gain knowledge on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and better understand that healthy soils are living, breathing entities. MO DIRT data will be analyzed, validated, and used to compliment data on climate and plant performance produced by meteorologists, plant biologists, and computer scientists at Missouri Transect institutions to provide a more complete picture of the current and future impact of climate change on the natural resources of the state of Missouri.

Presenting Author: Sandra Arango-Caro, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO

Co-Author: Terry Woodford-Thomas, Donald Danforth Science Center, St. Louis, MO (tthomas [at] danforthcenter [dot] org)

Corresponding Author: Sandra Arango-Caro

Tags: citizen science, education, mo dirt, poster, conference, soil health, outreach