sustainability day

Middle schoolers get a crash course in sustainability

UCR event included educational activities in agriculture and food production

May 20, 2024
Author: UCR News
May 20, 2024

About 100 Riverside middle school students recently learned about the importance of sustainable food production through hands-on activities with UC Riverside scientists.

Students from the Riverside STEM Academy visited the campus May 9 for the first Circular Economy and Sustainable Food Production Day, hosted by Georgios Vidalakis, a professor and UC Extension specialist in plant pathology, and his collaborators Kerry Mauck and Bodil Cass, professors of entomology.

Students met with agricultural scientists and volunteers, worked on plant experiments, and saw how insects and microorganisms can cause plant damage or be used to recycle food waste.

Vidalakis said such events educate students about agriculture and natural sciences and, he hopes, inspire them to pursue the fields in their future studies and research.

“Introducing young creative minds, such as the ones of the Riverside STEM Academy students, to the scientific process and how science and innovation can provide solutions to problems, is one of the best investments that we can make for our future,” he said.

Organizers hope to acquire outside funding to continue annual outreach events and agricultural sustainability courses for middle, high school, and university students.