April 2022 News

Academy Faculty Receive Robert P. Bell Education Grant

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County has awarded a Robert P. Bell Education Grant to Dr. Phillip Lobo and Dr. Jeff Smith to fund a project which will partner Academy students with local community organizations to educate themselves on local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.

Under the guidance of a trained botanist, students will learn about the interplay between native and invasive species, and the efforts the community makes to maintain the natural world that lives alongside us every moment. With the help of partners at the Cardinal Greenway, students will, over the course of a weekend in spring, seed the Greenway with local grasses and flowers. These include little bluestem, prairie gayfeather, purple coneflower and the endangered royal catchfly.

The method of planting is a hands-on process combining organic compost, dry clay, water and a blend of seeds. Students will measure, mix and create seed distribution pellets which can be safely thrown into disused or disturbed land to revitalize it. Later, they will follow up with these sites to track their progress, to see where their plantings have flourished or faced challenges, and why.

Congratulations to Dr. Lobo and Dr. Smith!