Advanced Teacher Training on Air Pollution Effects on Plants at the Air Quality Learning and Demonstration Center at the Arboretum at Penn State

in HortScience
Authors:
Dennis Decoteau1Penn State University, Horticulture

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Jonathan Ferdinand2Penn State University, Institutes of the Environment

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Jim Savage1Penn State University, Horticulture

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Dick Stevenson3Penn State University, Plant Pathology

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Donald Davis3Penn State University, Plant Pathology

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Penn State's Air Quality Learning and Demonstration Center was completed and open to the public in 2003. The facility houses the State College air monitors for the Department of Environmental Protection and contains self-guided walkways through gardens of air pollution sensitive plants, innovative techniques for demonstrating the effects of air pollutants on plants, displays of recent research findings, industry-supported displays of pollution abatement technologies, and a teaching pavilion. One of our outreach projects, funded by the US EPA and the PA Department of Environmental Protections, is to provide enhanced teacher training on air pollution impacts on the regional and specific vegetation through an in-service training for local science school teachers utilizing on-site and archived data on weather conditions and plant injury symptom development. The picture archive began to be developed during Summer 2005 using video cameras that are permanently mounted for the growing season inside the open-top chambers and focused on a plant (and a specific leaf or set of leaves). Once the teachers are trained to utilize these data sets appropriately, they will be able to access the data during the school year through the Learning Center website and conduct the same analysis with their students in their classroom during the school year. This use of archival information is important because the school year does not coincide with optimum times for observing air pollution symptoms on vigorously growing field-grown plants in Pennsylvania (which is best during the summer).

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