Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Environmental Science Might be a Good Class for You


I would never have chosen BIO 1050 from Vol State on my own, but now I am glad I did.  Dr. Phil Clifford, affectionately called Dr. Phil by his students, has proven his skill in making education enjoyable.  He is just as entertaining as world famous scientist Steve Spangler.  Our current lab experiments (Seven EcoCubes) are on display in the Warf Building.

The idea came from a Christmas gift Clifford received in grad school.  “It was an Eco-Sphere that had algae, a carefully balanced population of bacteria with some decomposers and pink shrimp swimming around,” said Clifford.  “I wanted to look at a lab that allowed us to look at air quality, water quality and soil quality.  This was perfect because we could build a complete ecosystem, and we can learn just as much from a failed system as we can from a stable one.”

Debbie Breese is studying for a degree in Environmental Resources.  “I especially like the labs,” said Breese.  “Dr. Phil makes the class fun, but his labs are where I learn the most.  This is a great foundation.  We had a fish in our EcoCube, but it died.  When it is all over we are going to examine what went wrong and what went right.”

This is Daniel Russell’s first science class.  “Dr. Phil is a great professor, his lectures are informative and the labs have great hands on experience,” said Russell.  “My EcoCube is going pretty good.  We had pill bugs and beetles to eat the decaying biomass and spiders to pick off anything else that was struggling.  We even have a tree growing, but I can’t see the bugs anymore.  I recommend this class and plan on taking the follow up class in spring.”

Public Relations major Crystal McCormick was worried about which science class to take but is now happy she chose BIO 1050. “I would have never guessed that we could learn so much from an EcoCube.  We had worms, spiders, grasshoppers, and tried to create a natural Tennessee environment.  I love it.  The class is not easy, but it’s very fun.  We get to go outside and see how things affect our everyday environment.  I have enjoyed this class and suggested it other students.”

Volunteer State Community College

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