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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cedar Park S.T.E.M. School 2015

Cedar Park S.T.E.M. School
7500 Whitney Drive
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Year: 2015
Teacher(s): Kelli Ellickson

Bee-Aware! A Minnesota Native Bee Comparison Study

Katie K, Akshara A, Lizie B, Jash P

Our fifth grade "busy bodies" studied a colony of "busy" bees in our school courtyard during a four week honeybee residency with the non-profit organization Pollinate Minnesota. We formed a "Bee Squad" because we are concerned about the health and declining numbers of bees in our state. The purpose of this experiment is to track the native bee population in our school's native habitat gardens and compare numbers to determine if the population is increasing or decreasing over time. We hope to raise public awareness of the importance of honey bees in our food system and what we can do to help our declining bee populations.


Making Sense of Beetle Scents

Aisha S, Ethan D, Jorge H, Elizabeth R, Skyler T

In our Insect Club we found evidence that insects were eating our school garden plants and apple tree leaves. We wondered if scent might attract these insects or repel them away from our garden. In this experiment we tested 6 different scents on Darkling Beetles. We hope to use this research to keep our raised garden beds insect and pesticide free.


Painted Lady Butterfly Flower Preference Study

Samiya A, Lukas H, Wyatt K, Aurora G

This fall our school insect club studied butterflies feeding in our native habitats and raised garden beds.  We learned one reason butterfly numbers are decreasing is loss of habitat. We want to plant a pollinator garden next spring to help them so we wondered what types of flowers butterflies prefer to feed on. In this experiment we will put Painted Lady Butterfly appetites to the test. Do they prefer nectar from wild flowers or ornamental garden flowers?


Who Let the Snails Out?

Chris E, Miguel G, Leo M, Jace G, Victor N

Our insect club collected aquatic invertebrates using dip nets and observation tubs in the pond next to our school . We observed dragonfly nymphs, a crayfish, predacious water beetles, fish and many strange snails from the shallow muddy shoreline. When we went to identify the snails we realized we had found an invasive species called the Mystery Snail. Since there were so many of them we were curious what they ate because they might be competing with other animals in the pond ecosystem for food. In this experiment we put snails to the test to determine their food preferences.


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