Florida Temporary OTC- NewBio Switchgrass Trial

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    Andrew Medearis

    Good Afternoon, All!

    I hope that you had a great Christmas and New Year’s Holiday and Break!

    I have imported some pictures of our temporary OTC set up using the Switchgrass growing trial from the NewBio/ BBEP project. Having semester classes, I wanted to get started so that the fall group actually were able to participate in the setting up and data collection process in order to make their learning of this material concrete and real.

    We planted the switchgrass the last week of September, and truly benefitted from the rain brought by Hurricane Matthew in the establishment of the Switchgrass trial plots. We researched the four varieties of seed and as a group (their were six classes that researched and presented their findings), they decided to place the OTC in the plot that was native to Florida, but was also salt tolerant. The basis of almost every argument was that they felt as though it could best handle any extremes/ variants in weather better than the other varieties (we have a North Carolina variety, two native to Florida varieties and one “super” mix in the trial with CSATS and Ernst Seed).

    The students selected the location for the plot, and set up trials when we returned from Thanksgiving break, and recorded data during the same times when classes were in session (we are running a modified block schedule with A/B days). We also have some of the HOBO pendant light/ temperature recorders that have been in the field since establishment of the trial plot.

    It has been interesting to see their thinking, justification, and to hear the discussions that have been taking place since we have placed the plot. It was really great to see the students work to research, present and defend their trial designs and then get to carry out the placement of the OTC- it really did make their learning concrete over the almost month that they were working to record and collect their data points.

    I cannot wait for us to get the Kentucky Bluegrass trial started and have the opportunity for them to discuss their observations and findings with students in other states!

    Picture below run from newest to oldest (day of plot establishment).



    Cinda Murray


    Great pictures!  I going to share them with my students tomorrow- we’ve been looking at soil and your soil looks very sandy.


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