The Tennessee Geographic Alliance recently announced that Phillip Lewis, a 5th grade teacher at Talbott Elementary School in Talbott, Tennessee was chosen as this year’s Geography Teacher of the Year! Mr. Lewis was assisted on a project by IQPR faculty member Henri Grissino-Mayer in preparing an unusually large cross section of an oak tree that recently fell on the grounds of his former school in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. Lewis stated that “The students have been researching dates to place on the timeline. The students are really enjoying the process and are very eager to learn as much as possible.” Kurt Butefish, director of the Tennessee Geographic Alliance, noted that “Phillip was chosen for the award based on a very strong letter of recommendation from his principal that stressed the success of his classes’ tree-ring project.”
The 2013 theme of UT’s Darwin Day — Climate Change and Evolution— is highly relevant to our research initiative. IQPR Faculty member Sally Horn helped Darwin Day organizers find handouts on climate change to include in their information booth on the Pedestrian walkway, and created her own handout on “Lake Sediments and Climate Change” that mentions our IQPR. Several IQPR graduate students will attend a special meeting with keynote speaker Dr. Camille Parmesan, and otherwise participant in Darwin Day activities.
Dr. Ben Thornton teaches Biology and Ecology at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, and has initiated a project on the campus of his university that involves learning techniques for analyzing past climate in tree-ring records of pines growing in a preserve next to campus. Working with IQPR faculty member Henri Grissino-Mayer, students at SAU have received hands-on training in collecting and processing increment cores from nearly 200 trees, and will be working in summer 2013 at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research to gain valuable experience in obtaining measurement data that can be compared with historical climate records from the region. Dr. Thornton, Dr. Grissino-Mayer, and students at SAU will be presenting their research in the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biology Teachers in Charleston, West Virginia in spring 2013.
Mud is a scientific, as well as familiar, term for wet, slimy, or sticky debris produced by rain on the Earth’s surface, ejections from springs or volcanoes, and the settling of turbid waters. Horn and her students study mud that accumulates at the bottoms of lakes and in bogs and swamps in the southeastern United States and Latin America. Ancient mud provides clues about past climate, vegetation, wildfires, other natural disturbances, and human land use and impacts. Mud samples are recovered in ways that preserve the stratigraphy of deposits. Radiocarbon dating and other techniques are used to determine sample ages. From microfossils such as pollen, particle sizes and shapes, and geochemical signatures, we develop records of environmental history that complement and extend what we can learn from archaeology and from other Earth archives–such as tree rings. See itunes podcast available here.
IQPR Faculty member David Anderson recently presented a webinar to the National Park Service titled “The Pleistocene Human Colonization of Interior North America.” In this talk, Dr. Anderson focused on when, where, and how human beings entered the Americas during the last Ice Age, upwards of 13,000 years ago. The routes early peoples took can be inferred from an examination of the archaeological and environmental record, and are not as obvious as we might think. The webinar is part of the National Park Service Archaeology Program, a program devoted to disseminating inormation about current research in archaeology, both inside and outside the national parks.
On April 9, 2011, IQPR faculty and students planned and led hands-on research on past climates and environments with local Girl Scouts, using fossil-rich sediments from mastodon excavations in New York donated by the Paleontological Research Institute. The authentic STEM research experience they provided to girls used lesson plans and materials developed as part of the University of Tennessee’s GK-12 Earth project (see “Mastodon Matrix Project“).
Our proposal to establish the IQPR listed the objective of involving two K-12 teachers in summer 2010 field and laboratory research on Quaternary paleoclimates. We’re pleased that Ann McGhee and Kimberly Kennard assisted in IQPR projects to learn techniques for understanding the earth’s paleoclimate.
Ms. Ann McGhee, science teacher at Jefferson Middle school in Jefferson City, Tennessee, helped Henri Grissino-Mayer and Ph.D. student Grant Harley collect increment cores from slash pines in the Florida Keys. Her participation in the research was funded by the NSF through the University of Tennessee GK-12 Earth Project.
Ms. Kimberly Kennard, biology teacher at Fulton High School in Knoxville, traveled to the Guadalupe and Davis Mountains of Texas with Ph.D. student Matthew Valente to help Matt collect modern suface samples to calibrate fossil pollen records from Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico. Her participation in Matt’s field work was funded by NSF through a doctoral dissertation research grant awarded to Matt and advisor Sally Horn.
David G. Anderson
- Anderson, David G. 2012. The Pleistocene Human Colonization of Interior North America. National Park Service Archeology Program 2012 ArcheoThursday Webinar series. Available online at http://www.nps.gov/archeology/tools/webinars.htm (Use IE for best results).
- Anderson, David G. 2012. Climate Change and Culture: Lessons from the Past for the Future. Pavilion Auditorium, Pavilion Building, 109 State Street, Montpelier. 12 September 2012. Vermont Archaeology Month. (Invited lecture). Panel discussion followed with Dr. John Crock (UVM, Consulting Archaeology Program), Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux (UVM, State Climatologist), Kate McCarthy (VNRC), VT State Archeologist Giovanna Peebles, and Brian Woods (Governor’s Climate Cabinet) on lessons learned and what we should be doing now.
- Anderson, David G. 2012. Archeology and Climate Change. Interview on the Mark Johnson show, WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont, 12 September 2012. (University of Tennessee professor discusses how climate change affected earlier societies). Interview available at http://blog.markjohnsonshow.net/2012/09/13/91212-dave-anderson-archeologyclimate-change.aspx.
- Anderson, David G. 2011. The Initial Human Colonization of Interior North America. A presentation for Second International Conference on the Great Migrations: Asia to America, sponsored by the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Kazakhstan to UNESCO, The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America, and the Harriman Institute of Columbia University. New York City, New York. 1 December 2011. Invited speaker and participant.
- David G. Anderson, D. Shane Miller, Tom Pertierra, Derek Anderson, Thad Bissett, Stephen Carmody, Tracy Hadlett, Erik N. Johanson, Ashley M. Smallwood, and Sarah Walters, 16 stellar University of Tennessee undergraduate students, and numerous volunteers. 2010. The Cumberland River/Midsouth Paleoindian Survey Project: What We Did and Learned This Summer. Scottsboro Community Club, Scottsboro, Tennessee, 9 August 2010, and on 10 August 2010 Hells Bend Outdoor Center Nashville, Tennessee.
- David G. Anderson, 2010. Shiloh Indian Mounds National Historic Landmark: Research Results of the 1999-2004 Field Program at Mound A. Bells Bend Outdoor Center, 22 July 2010, Nashville, Tennessee.
- David G. Anderson, D. Shane Miller, Tom Pertierra, Derek Anderson, Thad Bissett, Stephen Carmody, Tracy Hadlett, Erik N. Johanson, Ashley M. Smallwood, and Sarah Walters, 16 stellar University of Tennessee undergraduate students, and numerous volunteers. 2010 The Cumberland River/Midsouth Paleoindian Survey Project. Bells Bend Outdoor Center Nashville, Tennessee (by Miller and Anderson), 8 July 2010, and on 18 July 2010 at the Scottsboro Community Club, Scottsboro, Tennessee (by Anderson).