Tuesday, 7 October 2008: 11:15 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 370D
On March of 2008 the
College of Agriculture at Purdue University in conjunction with the University of Florida offered an 8-day travel aboard class to Honduras, Central America. The main focus of this trip was for the 10 students to visit different tropical cropping systems and to experience service learning during their travels throughout the following areas: Bay Islands (Roatan), Zamorano (Escuela Agrícola Panamericana), and Copan. The students were majors of Animal Science, Agricultural Economic, and Plant Science. The students had on site training on how to take GPS coordinates and collect soil and water samples in order to provide quality analyses to help the growers make informed decisions. In addition, the students evaluated the current land use practices with discussions based on principles of sustainable agriculture. They observed farms with conventional and organic practices and were asked to soil texture and color and measure soil pH before leaving each sampling sight. Water samples were also taken in near by villages to determine, nitrate/nitrite, phosphorus, pH, coliform bacteria, and dissolved oxygen. Once the students returned to the US, the soil was analyzed and a short summary was sent to the growers in order to help them prepare for their next season crop. Overall the students valued this experience because it allowed them to gain fundamental knowledge and they witnessed how service learning greatly enhanced a producer’s decision to improve their cropping techniques. The soil and water results will be presented during the presentation as well as student feedback.