Congratulations to former Research Translation Coordinator, and doctoral student Monica Ramirez who was recently awarded a UA/NASA Space Grant Fellowship to work with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the towns of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona to determine the quality of vegetables grown in home gardens neighboring the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site (IKMHSS). The NASA Space Grant Program and nominating departments provide six graduate fellowships per year to exceptional graduate students interested in promoting the understanding of science to the public.
Monica has developed the Gardenroots project is in response to community concerns regarding the quality of produce from home gardens. She will be working with local vegetable gardeners to determine if their soils and vegetable gardens have been impacted by the mine tailing waste from the IKMHSS. Monica will carry out a citizen science program that will actively engage community members in the sampling collection process and in the design of project’s outreach materials. Citizen Scientists of the Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona area will be:
- Trained in how to collect water, soil and vegetable samples from their gardens for micronutrient and metals analyses
- Better informed regarding the quality of the vegetables they grow, and issues related to soil and water quality in Arizona and the Southwest US
- Empowered, as they will communicate the information revealed by the project and be ambassadors for the environment in their community.