The STEM Research Organic Garden

The College of Health Sciences and Technology built a research organic garden through a USDA-funded grant, now called iCATCH (Innovative Curriculum for Agriculture Training and Career for Hispanics) grant.

The maintenance of the garden serves STU’s purpose of providing experiential learning for our students.  The iCATCH grant is part of a collaboration with the Agro Ecology Program of Florida International University.

Every semester, iCATCH students spend 2-3 hours per week designing and executing experiments that cover topics such as the use of vermicomposting (the production of fertilizers via earthworms), the effect of different water regimes on the growth of green onions, and the planting of unconventional highly nutritious crops, such as Malabar spinach.  Projects also include the effect of various factors on the growth and development of Slash pine seedlings.  In addition, a raised-bed plot dedicated to medicinal and culinary herbs sets the stage for interdisciplinary research projects on natural products between Biology and Chemistry majors.

Following the scientific methods in garden projects, students prepared and presented over 25 research posters at various Symposia and scientific conferences in the last few years.  The STEM research garden, together with the Chickee Hut Garden, gives all STU students the opportunity to spend time with nature while developing teamwork, critical thinking skills, and a sense of gratitude for the environment.

Contact Information:  Dr. Dora P. Maul, Chair School of Science (305) 628-6760