DSU Earth Day Celebration is Wednesday
Dakota State University will have an open house on Wednesday, April 23 from 2-4 p.m. at the Science Center to celebrate Earth Day. This year’s event will highlight the environmental research being done on the DSU campus.
The public is invited to stop by any time during the event and visit with faculty and students in the designated lab rooms to see demonstrations and overviews of these research activities. During your visit, you can check out the environmentally-friendly features of the Science Center that led to the recent awarding of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for the building.
Environmental Research at DSU
Michael Gaylor recently acquired a sophisticated laboratory instrument known as a Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS). GC-MS allows identification and measurement of thousands of unique chemical compounds present in all types of sample materials. Michael and his students will demonstrate how the instrument can be used to identify manmade chemical contaminants and study the impact of these chemicals on the human and wildlife residents of South Dakota.
Dale Droge and his students have been monitoring the water quality of the area lakes and streams in order to determine what baseline levels of nutrients are and detect any changes that may occur over time. At the Earth Day open house, Droge and DSU biology student, Courtney Hamblin, will demonstrate the laboratory techniques for measuring phosphorus concentrations and show examples of the trends in phosphorus concentrations over the last 8 years.
Donna Hazelwood tests water from lakes and streams throughout the watershed for the presence of coliform bacteria. These bacteria enter the water through animal wastes, and high concentrations can lead to serious illness. She will have recent cultures available to show how counts are conducted, and discuss what levels of bacterial contamination exceed environmental health standards.
Kristel Bakker studies the population trends of grassland birds throughout South Dakota. These bird communities have been declining rapidly and may be one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. She will have bird specimens available and information documenting the alarming decrease in grassland birds and their prairie habitat.