Biosphere 2011 and 2012

2012

On Oct. 5 and 6, 2012, Carol Schwalbe’s Science Journalism class made an overnight field trip to Biosphere 2 in Oracle.

Wifi is available throughout the property. There is a printer and PC in the computer lab (downstairs in Planning Center) adjacent to the Sonoran Room. Check out the aerial view of B2.

B2 website for background research

Scicats Facebook page

B2 Facebook page

Biosphere 2 overview from Arizona Daily Star

2012 B2 SCHEDULE

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

A generous grant from the University of Arizona Student Affairs helped make this field trip possible. It was also supported in part by the B2 Institute, a scientific think tank and research incubator that addresses scientific grand challenges that require solutions combining expertise from a broad range of scientific fields. Other funding was provided by Dr. Jeannine Relly, Professor Bruce Itule, Mrs. Carol Itule, Dr. Cecil Schwalbe and Professor Carol Schwalbe. We would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Melissa Vito, John de Dios and Shipherd Reed for their time, expertise and generous support. Noelle Haro-Gomez, Paul Ingram, Josh Morgan and Julian Ybarra provided technical assistance, while Jason Torrey whipped up his famous blueberry muffins. Beth Marlatt paid our bills.

We are especially indebted to the Biosphere 2 staff and researchers. They helped plan our trip and made themselves available during the day and even into the night: John Adams, Matt Adamson, Nate Allen, Greg Barron-Gafford, Jordan Brown, Steve DeLong, Katerina Dontsova, Christine Dunlap, Maggie Heard, Ed Hunt, Kim Land, Mitch Pravao-Zuckerman, Michael Sibayan, Paul Trittenbach, Joost van Haren and Dragos Zaharescu.

You may drive your own car to B2, which will be especially helpful if you want to stay longer on Saturday and interact with visitors. Most people visit between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Be sure to let Carol know if you’re driving your own car.

FRIDAY, OCT. 5

7:30 a.m. Come to the lot BEHIND Marshall so you don’t miss the van! It’s the lot between Marshall and the Marriott. Look for a white van with a UA insignia. If you have a problem, call Carol at 520-300-0693.

7:45 a.m. We’ll leave the Marshall parking lot. Be on time! It’s a long walk to B2!

8:45 a.m. We’ll park in the visitor lot and pick up key cards for the casitas at the visitor center. We’ll drop off our overnight stuff and get settled.

9:45 a.m. Welcome and Q&A with Associate Director Matt Adamson in the Small Theater. Be prepared to ask questions during the Q&A. Matt could be another source for your story.

10:15 a.m. The Snakeman will moderate a panel with Dr. Steve DeLong, Nate Allen, Dr. Joost van Haren, Dr. Katerina Dontsova and Dr. Dragos Zaharescu.

You’ll tweet and FB about the press conference. You can ask follow-up or new questions.

10:45 a.m. A group tour of B2 led by Matt Adamson. We’ll stop to hear from the following researchers:

  1. Steve DeLong (LEO)
  2. Nate Allen (Model City)
  3. Joost van Haren (Tropical Rain Forest)
  4. Jordan Brown (Green Roofs)
  5. Katerina Dontsova and Dragos Zaharescu (Rock Soup)

12:30 p.m. Lunch with B2 faculty and staff at the picnic tables outside Casita 1900. This is a great opportunity to mingle informally! Catering by Nonna Maria’s: 520-896-3522. Veggie wraps, turkey wraps, seafood pasta salad, pretzels and fresh-baked white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

These researchers, techs and staff will join us for lunch:

Geosciences

  •       Dr. Steve DeLong — geomorphology and LEO project
  •       Dr. Katerina Dontsova — soil biogeochemistry
  •       Ed Hunt (lead technician) — analytical chemistry for Donstova lab
  •       Michael Sibayan — instrumentation (sensors) and computer engineer for LEO
  •       Dr. Dragos Zaharescu — plant-rock interactions

Model City

  •       Nate Allen—assistant research scientist and sustainability coordinator

Ecology: Blue barrels (mesquite and potted grass experiment)

  •       Dr. Greg Barron-Gafford — ecology/plant physiology (leading blue barrels project) Greg can’t join us.
  •       Maggie Heard (part-time research assistant) —  Maggie will be at B2 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Ecology: Green roofs

  •       Jordan Brown (technician) — ecology and green roofs experiment (citizen science)

Ecology: Tropical rain forest

  •       Dr. Joost van Haren — ecology — tropical rain forest drought experiment

1:30-4 p.m. Report, interview B2 researchers and staff, shoot photos or video, and observe science in action. SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS WITH RESEARCHERS AND TECHNICIANS BEFORE 4, when most will be leaving.

  1. LEO with Dr. Steve DeLong—Brandon, Holly, Ali, Jose (video) (mentor: Paul Ingram)
  2. Model City with Nate Allen—Kyle, Hope, Cece, Alex (video) (mentor: Julian Ybarra)
  3. Tropical Rain Forest with Dr. Joost Van Haren—Chris, Drew, Jason, Tyler (video) (mentor: Josh Morgan)
  4. Geobiology (how life changes rock) with Dr. Katerina Dontsova and Dr. Dragos Zaharescu—Sean, Bethany, Emily, Susan (video) (mentor: Jason Torrey)

The Small Theater will be our headquarters. Come there for one-on-ones to go over your stories, photos and video. You can conduct interviews in the casitas as well as labs and offices in B2. Bring your own laptop, or use the PCs in the lab.

Places to check out:

  • LEO
  • Green roofs
  • Desert
  • Ocean
  • Lower savanna
  • Upper savanna
  • Rain forest
  • Solar projects

3-4 p.m. If you have time, interview and photograph B2 visitors for the perspective of the “little guy.” Try to do this today. You might be able to catch a few visitors in the morning, but there won’t be as many people around then.

4-5 p.m. One-on-ones in the Small Theater with Carol, John and Shipherd. Show us your best photos and/or video footage, and we’ll give you feedback on the holes you need to fill. We can also discuss how your text story is shaping up.

5 p.m. OPTIONAL: Journalism 101 in the Small Theater with Carol

6 p.m. Sunset

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the picnic tables outside Casita 1900. Fresh-baked garlic break, chicken piccata, chicken parmesan, pasta primavera and chocolate cake.

Guests: Astronomers from the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. Take advantage of this great opportunity to mingle with our visitors!

After dinner: Stargazing with astronomers from Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.

After dinner: Road riding with Cecil Schwalbe to look for nocturnal reptiles that will be hugging the blacktop to stay warm. Will also look for other nighttime residents with a black light.

After dinner: A great chance to do nighttime photography because we’re far from the city lights. When the B2 lights are on, the front lawn with the habitat in the foreground is a very good vantage point.

After dinner: Check to see if the lights over the ocean biome are on. Use a flashlight as back illumination to take interesting pictures in other places, such as the swamp area. A tripod will help! This experience will give you practice shooting other situations, such as inside caves or elusive animals. Be on the lookout for snakes, frogs and tarantulas at night using that sort of light.

SATURDAY, OCT. 6

6:22 a.m. Sunrise

8-9 a.m. Fresh cut fruit, cereal, assorted breakfast breads, OJ and coffee in Casita 1900. Coffee makers, along with coffee, cream and sugar, will be available in each casita. Hooray!

9-10 a.m. Recap and classroom activity in the Small Theater.

10-10:45 a.m. Take follow-up shots at B2. Interview and photograph B2 visitors for the perspective of the “little guy.”

10-10:45 a.m. One-on-ones in Small Theater with Carol, John and Shipherd. We’ll be available to discuss your story and give you feedback on your photos and/or video.

11 a.m. Pick up your overnight bag. Leave the key card in your room. There’s no checkout.

11:15 a.m. Departure from the visitor parking lot.

On Sept. 30, 2011, the Science Journalism classes taught by Carol Schwalbe and Tom Beal traveled to Biosphere 2 in Oracle. Their activities are detailed below, along with multimedia pieces and stories about their visit. The faculty and students of the University of Arizona School of Journalism extend thanks to the following for helping to make this trip possible: the University of Arizona Honors College, the University of Arizona Student Affairs (Student/Faculty Interaction Grant) and the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Mariana Dale‘s story on the “Green Roofs project at Biosphere 2” was published in The Explorer, the newspaper that covers Oro Valley, Marana and the northwest side of Tucson.

The Explorer also ran Jason Torrey’s story on Rock Soup: A Recipe for Life. Can life arise from simple rock?

Kedi Xia produced this audio slideshow about Dr. Joost van Haren’s drought experiments at Biosphere 2.

Rikki Mitchell produced this video on the rain forest experiment at Biosphere 2.

Abragail Kappel produced this video on the rain forest experiment.

Zachary Vito produced this video about the potted mesquite and grass experiment.

Kedi Xia produced this audio slideshow about the overnight visit by the Science Journalism classes.

UA videographer Ruben Ruiz captured a video montage of the day.

John de Dios wrote a story about the Model City project that includes an audio piece and and a slideshow. It was published in the Tucson Weekly. This package was picked up by the UA’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

2011 SCHEDULE (Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 30

7:30 a.m. Come to the lot BEHIND Marshall so you don’t miss the van! It’s the lot between Marshall and the Marriott. Look for two large  vans with UA insignias. If you’re having a problem, call Carol at 520-300-0693.

7:45 a.m. Vans leave parking lot BEHIND Marshall. Be on time! It’s a long walk to B2!

9 a.m. Park in the visitor parking lot. (The gates open at 9 a.m.)
We’ll pick up key cards for the casitas at the visitor center. We’ll drop off our overnight stuff and get settled.

10 a.m. Welcome and talk by B2 Director Dr. Travis E. Huxman on history and UA connection in the Mojave Room.
Be prepared to ask questions during Q&A. You’ll write a deadline story based on his talk.

11 a.m. Tour of B2 led by Steve DeLong and Matt Adamson. We can observe the LEO space from the balcony.

12:30 p.m. Lunch with B2 faculty and staff on the Planning Center patio. Great opportunity to mingle informally! Catering by Oracle Inn 520-896-3333.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Observe and talk to B2 researchers and technicians. SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS WITH STEVE DELONG AND THE TECHNICIANS BEFORE 3:30 OR 4.

Assistant director John Adams has been working at Biosphere 2 for a number of years with a focus on facilitating research within the operation of the facility. He will be around on Friday if you’d like to talk to him.

Geosciences

  • Dr. Steve DeLong — geomorphology and LEO project — Sarah, Daniella, Morgan and Chelsey
  • Dr. Katerina Dontsova — soil biogeochemistry — Elizabeth, Jason, Michael and Jamie
  • Ed Hunt (lead technician) — analytical chemistry for Donstova lab — Kedi, Keith, Rikki and Courtney
  • Dave Millar (technician, new) — geomorphology, LEO — Vanessa, Kevin and Julian
  • Michael Sibayan — instrumentation (sensors)  and computer engineer for LEO — Jazmine, Josh, Andrea and Chris
  • Whitney Henderson (technician) — ecology, geomorphology, LEO — Jackie, Yazmine, John and Abby
  • Dr. Dragos Zaharescu (postdoc) — plant-rock interactions — Mariana, Emily, Catalina and Zachary

Ecology: Green roofs

  • Becca Reiss (technician) — ecology and “green roofs” experiment (citizen science) — Julian, Chelsey, Mariana and Jamie

Ecology: Tropical rain forest

  • Dr. Joost Van Haren — ecology — tropical rain forest drought experiment — Chris, John, Jackie and Kedi
  • Kolby Jardine (assistant research professor)—Abby
  • Neill Prohaska (technician)—Daniella
  • Ty Taylor (Ph.D. student in EEB)—Emily

Ecology: Blue barrels (mesquite and potted grass experiment)

  • Dr. Greg Barron-Gafford — ecology/plant physiology (leading blue barrels project) — Zachary, Yazmine and Elizabeth
  • Ashley Weide (technician) — ecology — Morgan, Jason, Abby and Sarah
  • Maggie Heard (part-time technician) — ecology — Vanessa, Emily, Rikki and Kevin
  • Rebecca Minor (technician) — ecology and ecosystem flux tower (Mount Bigelow) — Courtney, Jazmine, Daniella and Josh
  • Lingzhi Shao (visiting scholar from the Laboratory of Environmental Biology and Life Support Technology, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China) – Keith, Andrea, Michael and Catalina

2:30-5 p.m. Flex time for you to shoot photos and video, work on your stories, interview B2 researchers and staff. You can also talk with visitors. TALK TO  STEVE DELONG AND THE TECHNICIANS FIRST! THEY’LL LEAVE AROUND 3:30 OR 4. The Planning Center will be our headquarters. There are small rooms where you can conduct interviews. You may also use the computers in the lab.

Places to check out:

2:30-5 p.m. One-on-ones in Planning Center:

  • Carol
  • Tom
  • Shipherd Reed, multimedia producer at Flandrau and UA College of Science, for photos and video

5:30-6:30 p.m.  Tom’s Quick Primer in Journalism  for science students and beginning journalists (optional but highly recommended)

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the B2 Café

After dinner: Stargazing with astronomers from the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.

After dinner: Road riding with Cecil Schwalbe to look for nocturnal reptiles that will be hugging the blacktop to stay warm. Will also look for other nighttime residents with head lamps. He’ll have one you can borrow.

After dinner: A great opportunity for nighttime photography because we’ll be far from the city lights. If the B2 lights are on, the front lawn with the habitat in the foreground is a very good vantage point.

SATURDAY, OCT. 1

7-9 a.m. Breakfast buffet in the B2 Café. Coffee makers, along with coffee, cream and sugar, will be available in each casita. Hooray!

9-10:30 a.m. Recap and Carol’s classroom activity in the Mojave Room.

10:30-11:30 a.m. Flex time to write, edit, shoot, work with instructors.

11:30 a.m. Take a look at Science Saturday.

12:30 p.m. Pick up box lunch on the Planning Center patio.

12:45 p.m. Departure from the visitor parking lot.

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