Turning Aquatic Weeds into Fertilizer


JENNIE: HAPPENING NOW… A LOCAL GROUP WORKING TO TRANSFORM AQUATIC WEEDS INTO FERTILIZER TO HELP AN AUGUSTA NEIGHBORHOOD. NEWSCHANNEL SIX’S ASHLEY OSBORNE TALKED TO THE PROFESSOR LEADING THE PROJECT AND HER STUDENTS ASHLEY–THE PLANTS ARE ALREADY REMOVED FROM THE CANAL… BUT RIGHT NOW… THEY’RE JUST THROWN AWAY. ASHLEY: THE TEAM FROM AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY IS TRYING TO TURN THE BIO MASS INTO SOMETHING USEFUL INSTEAD OF TRASH. BUT FIRST THEY’VE GOTTA MAKE SURE IT’S CLEAN AND SAFE… SO THEY’RE COMPOSTING IT… IN SHORT, COMPOSTING IS TAKING ORGANIC MATERIALS… AND ADDING SOME INGREDIENTS SO IT DECOMPOSES. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES DR. DONNA WEAR EXPLAINS ONE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES DR. DONNA WEAR EXPLAINS ONE SPECIES THEY’RE WORKING WITH IS ONE YOU TYPICALLY PUT IN AN AQUARIUM AND IT’S INVASIVE TO THE CANAL. DR. DONNA WEAR/AU PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THEIR AQUARIUM AND THEN WHAT THEY DO IS THEY DUMP IT OUT AND THIS STUFF HAS JUST TAKEN OVER. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: THE OTHER IS NATIVE TO OUR WATER… BUT IS REMOVED FROM THE GENERATORS AT SIBLEY MILL THAT TURN TO CREATE HYDROELECTRIC POWER. ONCE A WEEK IT’S HAULED OFF TO THE DUMP. DR. DONNA WEAR/AU PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO SEE IF WE CAN TURN THIS INTO A SAFE AND HEALTHY KIND OF COMPOST THAT PEOPLE CAN USE IN THE HARRISBURG NEIGHBORHOOD. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: WHY HARRISBURG? DR. WEAR POINTS OUTTHERE ARE A LOT OF HEAVY METALS IN THE AREA DUE TO THE MILLS. STUDENT BRYAUNNA BARRERA DESCRIBES WHY THOSE CAN BE HARMFUL. BRYAUNNA BARRERA/ AU STUDENT: BECAUSE OUR BODY DOESN’T GET RID OF THEM AS EASILY AS LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER MINERALS AND STUFF THAT GET INTO OUR BODY SO THEY JUST KIND OF ACCUMULATE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF YOUR BODY. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: STUDENT SHEENA MONDEDDU LISTS ANOTHER REASON HARRISBURG IS A FOCUS. SHEENA MONDEDDU/ AU STUDENT: THIS AREA IS A FOOD DESSERT, WHICH MEANS THAT THERE’S NO FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITHIN MILES SO THEY CAN GROW THEIR OWN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES USING THIS SOIL AND THE SOIL ALSO REDUCES THE CONCENTRATION OF HEAVY METALS, WHICH IS WHY THEY CAN’T JUST LIKE USE SOIL IN THEIR BACKYARD. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: FOR THE FINAL PHASE, THEY’LL ACTUALLY GROW VEGETABLES IN THE SOIL FERTILIZED WITH THEIR COMPOST. AND STUDENT RHILEY GREENE SAYS THEY’LL COMPARE THOSE VEGGIES TO THE ONES GROWN IN DOCTOR WEAR’S GARDEN. RHILEY GREENE/ AU STUDENT: TO SEE IF THEY MATCH IN CONCENTRATIONS OF HEAVY METALS BECAUSE WE KNOWTHOSE CARROTS THAT SHE’S BEEN GROWING ARE HEALTHY, ARE SAFE TO EAT. ASHLEY OSBORNE/ REPORTER: THE GIRLS EXPLAIN THE BEST CASE SCENARIO IS THEY FIND THE CONCENTRATION OF HEAVY METALS DECREASES SIGNIFICANTLY SO GARDENERS IN HARRISBURG CAN USE THIS SOIL TO GROW ALL SORTS OF CROPS. ASHLEY: THEIR PROJECT WILL CONTINUE NEXT SEMESTER. AND IF YOU’VE WALKED THE AUGUSTA CANAL TRAIL OVER THERE BY THE MILLS… OR IF YOU’VE VISTED THE CROC CENTER…. YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN THEIR BIG BLACK BINS… BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THEY ARE COMPOSTING THESE WEEDS FROM THE CANAL.

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