2019, Sacramento, California, USA
When George Washington Carver High School students Camille Chappell and Nathan Castro first learned about biochar, they became intrigued. Biochar is a soil amendment that can improve soil health, boost plant growth, and has the potential to sequester carbon in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years.
In an effort to learn more about and educate others about this charcoal-like substance and its potential environmental benefits, Camille and Nathan created a biochar demonstration garden and designed a study comparing plant growth of a plant grown in biochar amended soil and one in regular soil. They took measurements at least twice a week and collected data on the amount of leaves and flowers present. They synthesized their data into a presentation that they gave to their class.
The presentation served as a catalyst for discussion and raised awareness about biochar and its potential to both improve plant growth and act as a carbon sink. This project gave Camille and Nathan an introductory experience with designing and conducting a scientific study as well as gave them and their classmates a chance to take a closer look at this interesting substance that is getting more attention in the fields agriculture and climate change science.