Dirty Work

On the grounds of San Marino’s Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens—in the private, half-acre Huntington Ranch area—nearly two dozen middle and high school students spent this past summer measuring the levels of nitrogen in the soils around them to help the ranch determine whether its dirt is up to the challenge of growing an urban garden. This hands-on research experience was part of the Community Science Academy @ Caltech, which is affiliated with Caltech’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach. At left, James Maloney (MS ’06), one of the two co-directors of the CSA@Caltech program, helps high school student Kate Samaniego gather soil samples for testing. Other projects involved conducting experiments on ant behavior, and designing and building sensor-carrying remote-controlled powered kites, which the students flew over the library grounds. —JA