STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. These are study subjects in which U.S. pupils are generally not at par with their peers in other developed countries. That reduces our chances of finding timely solutions to the dire crises that face our planet. It also diminishes the chances for the U.S. economy to remain competitive.
More people already know the STEM abbreviation. Some states and communities are now implementing STEM education programs. Many experts believe that Art education is important, too. Scientific studies have shown that STEM students and professionals who attended art classes are more likely to find crative solutions to new problems.
University of Tennessee satellite research opens a book in the upstairs libraryWritten by Qiusheng Wu
How to use free satellite data to monitor natural disasters and environmental changes
This story was originally published by The Conversation. Qiusheng Wu is assistant professor of geography and sustainability at University of Tennessee.
KNOXVILLE — If you want to track changes in the Amazon rainforest, see the full expanse of a hurricane or figure out where people need help after a disaster, it’s much easier to do with the view from a satellite orbiting a few hundred miles above Earth.
Traditionally, access to satellite data has been limited to researchers and professionals with expertise in remote sensing and image processing. However, the increasing availability of open-access data from government satellites such as Landsat and Sentinel, and free cloud-computing resources such as Amazon Web Services, Google Earth Engine and Microsoft Planetary Computer, have made it possible for just about anyone to gain insight into environmental changes underway.
I work with geospatial big data as a professor. Here’s a quick tour of where you can find satellite images, plus some free, fairly simple tools that anyone can use to create time-lapse animations from satellite images.
Knox County mayor honors women leaders in STEAM all month
KNOXVILLE — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is observing Women’s History Month throughout March by sharing videos each Wednesday highlighting time spent in different Knox County Schools’ Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) classrooms taught by female teachers.
The March 15 video features a visit with South Doyle High School STEM/Computer Science and 2022 KCS Secondary Teacher of the Year Katie DeVinney who was teaching a class on the principles of advanced manufacturing and practical design.
“I hope out of courses like this, that young women are able to see the opportunities available in sectors of the economy like advanced manufacturing and hopefully pursue those,” Jacobs said in a press release.
DeVinney is a 10-year educator who began her career as a foreign language instructor but was inspired by her husband who started the Robotics program at South Doyle High School, to switch paths.
“I just love it. It’s so much fun to see the excitement in kids when they get to take something that they designed on this computer and then hold it in the real world. It’s the coolest process I have ever seen so that’s kind of why I do it.” DeVinney said.
Mayor Jacobs said celebrating women in STEAM is important for young girls because it shows them that women can succeed in technical fields — industry typically driven by men.
The mayor has already shared his visit with Hardin Valley Elementary STEM Educators Jessica Everitt and Jana Yra and his visit with West Valley Middle science teacher Bethany Saunders.
Later this month, he will share visits with Gibbs Middle School Art Teacher Dorothy Verbick and STEM Teacher Lauren Downs; as well as Karns Middle School Math Teacher Rebecca Layton.
— Knox County Mayors Office
Get a free virtual science lesson in the Smokies this Thursday
A rundown about science efforts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is set for March 2.
You can learn about myriad scientific studies ongoing in the Smokies from the comfort of your own home.
The park and Discover Life in America are presenting this virtual event from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Register for free on Zoom.
Attendees will “learn about a wide variety of scientific topics, from natural history and weather to geology and more, from researchers currently working in the Smokies,” according to an announcement from DLIA.
The schedule is likely to change, but a tentative schedule is available on the DLIA website.
— Ben Pounds
Orange STEM: UT links East Tennessee students with Science, Technical, Engineering and Math studiesWritten by JJ Stambaugh
The TN Lunabotics, science and sustainability get together at BOSS event
KNOXVILLE — What do environmental, social and economic sustainability have in common?
There are numerous ways to answer that question, but for those who pay close attention to education or economics it’s an accepted fact that the future belongs to societies that invest heavily in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
That’s why educators at all levels are pushing students towards those subjects at every opportunity, as was evidenced Jan. 21 at Big Orange STEM Saturday (BOSS) at the University of Tennessee.
About 150 high school students picked from communities across East Tennessee spent much of their Saturday at John C. Hodges Library, getting a first-hand taste of what awaits them should they choose to pursue careers in STEM through the UT system.
Each year more than 600,000 people visit Ijams Nature Center
This is the second installment of an occasional series, Hellbent, profiling citizens who work to preserve and improve the Southern Appalachian environment.
KNOXVILLE — On any given day, the parking lot at Ijams Nature Center in South Knoxville is packed with cars, trucks, and buses as folks of all ages flock to hike, climb, swim and paddle its 300-plus acres of protected wildlands.
Making sure the center’s 620,000 or so annual visitors have a positive experience interacting with Mother Nature requires dozens of full-time employees plus a generous contingent of volunteers. Ensuring the complex operation stays on course and within its $1.8 million operating budget is a tough job, but Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker has been doing it for six years now and has no desire to be doing anything else.
When Amber talks about Ijams she fairly bursts with giddy, infectious energy. This is a woman who has clearly found her place in the world, and even a brief walk along any of the center’s 21 trails makes one wonder if the land itself hasn’t responded in like fashion to her devotion.
Wildlife masterpieces mark an artistic autumnal fundraiser for the Tennessee Aquarium
CHATTANOOGA — While getting ready to tackle his next artistic masterpiece at the Tennessee Aquarium, Avior the red-ruffed lemur likes to take a few steps to center himself: languid naps in the sunshine, delicate nibbles of romaine lettuce, a resounding howl to focus his energy.
Only after these rituals are complete can this master of composition — a true “Lemur-nardo” da Vinci — begin putting paw and tail to canvas to create his next opus.
Avior’s latest triumph — made using non-toxic, animal-friendly tempura paint, naturally — is a 16-by-20-inch piece created in collaboration with his fellow lemurs and social media star Atlanta-based artist Andrea Nelson (TikTok video). Avior and Nelson’s masterwork is one of more than two dozen pieces of art made by aquarium animals now up for bid during the Tennessee Aquarium’s online fall fundraising auction. The auction will conclude at noon on Monday, Sept. 26.
Foreign freshwater jellyfish have been swimming among us since the 1930sWritten by Stephen Lyn Bales
Freshwater jellyfish: Here one year, gone the next.
KNOXVILLE — Paddling along the still water of Mead’s Quarry Lake you notice the air bubbles created by your oars. They are all around your canoe near the surface.
It’s a hot early September afternoon and the nearly transparent bubbles seem to take on a life of their own. You slow to watch and yes, they undulate, rising and falling in the pristine water of the abandoned marble quarry.
Air bubbles do not undulate!
Taking a clear plastic cup, you lean over the gunwale and scoop up one of the penny-sized bubbles to get a closer look.
Tentacles? Air bubbles do not have tentacles. What you are looking at is a freshwater jellyfish and the heat of late summer is its mating season. It’s a blossom of jellyfish as hundreds gather together near the water’s surface. They are commonly known as peach blossom jellyfish.
Citizen scientists are taking stock in Smokies, and the inventory keeps increasingWritten by Thomas Fraser
This story was provided by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Next demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 20
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating the success of a community science project led by nonprofit partner Discover Life in America (DLiA) called Smokies Most Wanted. The initiative encourages visitors to record life they find in the park through the iNaturalist nature app. DLiA and the park use these data points to map species range, track exotic species, and even discover new kinds of life in the park.
“iNaturalist usage in the Smokies has skyrocketed from just four users in 2011, to 3,800 in 2020, to now more than 7,100 users,” said Will Kuhn, DLIA’s director of science and research.
In August, the project reached a milestone, surpassing 100,000 records of insects, plants, fungi, and other Smokies life submitted through the app. Among them are 92 new species not previously seen in the park.
Knoxville celebrates sustainable technology startups from across the country
KNOXVILLE — Leaders of start-up green businesses specializing in services and products ranging from carbon reduction to cleaning products and piping wrapped up some warp-speed lessons Aug. 31.
At the conclusion of the three-month Spark CleanTech Accelerator the leaders of environmentally sustainable businesses from across the country took home some awards and got a strategic pep talk from Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.
“I’m very committed to all things green and sustainable,” she said. “Orange and green are complementary colors." She spoke of making Knoxville a “clean tech hub,” not just for Tennessee but internationally. She envisioned “a cleaner Knoxville and a cleaner world.”
- spark clean tech acclerator
- University of Tennessee
- university of tennessee research park
- knoxville sustainability
- knoxville mayor sustainability
- indya kincannon
- ut research foundation
- tom rogers ut
- launch tennessee
- ben pounds journalist
- 3d printing knoxville
- green llama
Smokies researchers make a formal acquaintance with a familiar salamander
Great news from the Smokies via Instagram!
The “salamander capital of the world” just gained a new member! Meet our 31st species: the Cherokee black-bellied salamander, or Desmognathus gvnigeusgwotli. Its species name means “black belly” in the Cherokee language. Scientists used genetics to find out that it is different from the other black-bellied salamander in the park.
Dirt is far from just dirt. It’s a foundation for life.
This story was originally published by The Revelator.
Look down. You may not see the soil beneath your feet as teeming with life, but it is.
Better scientific tools are helping us understand that dirt isn’t just dirt. Life in the soil includes microbes like bacteria and fungi; invertebrates such as earthworms and nematodes; plant roots; and even mammals like gophers and badgers who spend part of their time below ground.
It’s commonly said that a quarter of all the planet’s biodiversity lives in the soil, but that’s likely a vast understatement. Many species that reside there, particularly microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists, aren’t yet known to science.
- the revelator
- soil type
- soil moisture
- why is soil important
- soil microbe
- soil microorganism
- nutrient cycling
- reading university
- climate change
- soil degradation
- plastic pollution
- genetically modified organism
- artificial fertilizer
- land use change
- convention on biodiversity
- soil biodiversity observation network
- global soil biodiversity initiative
- ecosystem research
- farm to fork strategy
- microbial transplants
- soil quality
- soil sealing
At Gray Fossil Site, paleontologists let the bone-crushing dog outWritten by East Tennessee State University
Discovery of ancient ambush predator is one of few large carnivores found at East Tennessee paleontological site
JOHNSON CITY — Overseen by the Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology at East Tennessee State University, researchers have studied the Gray Fossil Site for over 20 years. They have identified many extinct animal and plant species of the Pliocene epoch that lived there some 5 million years ago. While large herbivores are well known from the site, large predators are relatively uncommon, so far including only alligators and scarce remains of at least one sabertooth cat.
Now, there’s a new predator on the scene.
A recent study published in the Journal of Paleontology describes a single right humerus (upper arm bone) of an animal named Borophagus, a member of an extinct group more commonly called bone-crushing dogs. The animal is so named for its powerful teeth and jaws. This is the first evidence of any animals in the dog family from the Gray Fossil Site.
The research was conducted by Emily Bōgner, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, and alumnus of ETSU’s paleontology master’s program, and Dr. Joshua Samuels, associate professor in the ETSU Department of Geosciences and curator at the Gray Fossil Site and Museum.
An under-appreciated Black scientist pioneered the modern study of bees and other insectsWritten by Edward D. Melillo
Charles Henry Turner concluded that bees can perceive time and develop new feeding habits in response
This story was originally published by The Conversation. Edward D. Melillo is a professor of history and environmental studies at Amherst College.
On a crisp autumn morning in 1908, an elegantly dressed African American man strode back and forth among the pin oaks, magnolias and silver maples of O’Fallon Park in St. Louis, Missouri. After placing a dozen dishes filled with strawberry jam atop several picnic tables, biologist Charles Henry Turner retreated to a nearby bench, notebook and pencil at the ready.
Following a midmorning break for tea and toast (topped with strawberry jam, of course), Turner returned to his outdoor experiment. At noon and again at dusk, he placed jam-filled dishes on the park tables. As he discovered, honeybees (Apis mellifera) were reliable breakfast, lunch and dinner visitors to the sugary buffet. After a few days, Turner stopped offering jam at midday and sunset, and presented the treats only at dawn. Initially, the bees continued appearing at all three times. Soon, however, they changed their arrival patterns, visiting the picnic tables only in the mornings.
Tennessee Aquarium fellowships bring minorities into the science space
CHATTANOOGA — Never let it be said that all summer jobs are created equal.
Squatting on his heels to dangle the flexible hose of an environmental DNA pump into a briskly flowing North Georgia stream, the last few weeks have been anything but ordinary for Spencer Trimpe. With the pump’s droning motor steadily collecting a sample of water to filter out genetic traces of the stream’s inhabitants, he doesn’t bother holding back a smile.
A lanky junior biology major from Thomas More University, Trimpe is one of two students selected as part of the Tennessee Aquarium’s George Benz Aquatic Ecology Fellowship. Instead of manning a cash register or waiting tables this summer, he’s assisting freshwater scientists from the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute with a variety of research projects.