Solving problems one project at a time

AP Biology students take on ecology grant project


Erika Pernis

AP Biology students put their knowledge into practice with a recent ecology grant project. They had to submit a proposal solving an ecological problem.

Hannah Beeler, Staff Reporter

From plastic waste in the oceans to deforestation across the globe, there are many different ecological problems that continue to grow. AP Biology students hope to tackle some of these problems as they research and propose ecology grants.

“The ecology grant is designed to integrate the ecology content of our class and apply it into the context of our lives through problem solving,” AP Biology teacher Chris Ham said. “I chose to do it because it’s a more engaging and interesting way to apply ecology for our students.”

From proposing legislation to help with storm surges to creating sustainable makeup packaging, students have a variety of different topics to choose from.

“My grant proposal will be for saltwater intrusion which occurs after hurricanes,” sophomore Cindy Trinh said. “Some of the challenges of the ecology grant is the research aspect. It’s been hard to find sources that are specifically about saltwater intrusion in relation to hurricanes. I usually either find articles about hurricanes or saltwater intrusion never about both.”

Trinh believes that there have been many positive outcomes that have come with doing this project.

“My favorite part about this project is that I can research a field that I’m interested in,” Trinh said. “While I’m not necessarily sure if I want to pursue meteorology in the future. It’s definitely a field that I find interesting and I like that I get to learn more about it.”

The project has led to opportunities for learning both in and out of the classroom.

“This project really opened my eyes to a lot of ongoing environmental problems in the world,” Ma said. “All the problems we’re researching are all very real problems that will impact me like 2030 years down the line. So it makes me want to be more sustainable in my daily life practices.”

For Ham, the project adds variety to the typical day in AP Biology.

“[Topics this year] include reducing clothing returns, pet training and adoptions, school lunches, invasive species, and reusable products,” he said. “As a teacher, grading can sometimes get very stale due to the repetitive nature of grading numerous versions of the same assignment. But, my favorite part of reviewing the submissions for this grant is seeing the variety. I get to learn more about my student’s interests and I get to learn more about their chosen topic.”