Fields of science: If you ask them, they will come — Scientists at Belvedere

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A fifth-grader studies butterflies and moths collected over the years by Andrew Lima, a Fairfax County environmental health specialist in the Disease Carrying Insects Program.

An environmental protection specialist, a stream ecologist and an entomologist (insect scientist) have visited Belvedere’s fifth-graders since late November. The visits are part of the Fields of Science unit, in which students learn not only about different types of science but about the scientists themselves.

Parent Manjali Vlcan was the first to visit, telling students about her path to become an environmental protection specialist with the Environmental Protection Agency. The biggest surprise: Scientists aren’t always in the field or in a lab — sometimes they’re helping to create, carry out and defend the nation’s laws.

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A student examines disease-carrying insects — ticks and mosquitoes — in a microscope.

Fairfax County stream ecologist Danielle Wynne and Fairfax County environmental health specialist Andrew Lima shared their stories as well. Mr. Lima brought in some of his insect collection, which he started when he was a fifth-grader!

Ms. Wynne worked with the students earlier this year, during a watershed-oriented field trip at Riverbend Park. She led a segment on identifying insects in the water to determine stream health, while Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District soil scientist Dan Schwartz explored soils and sedimentation with the students and county urban forester Joan Allen led students on a  hike that taught them about the role of the forest in the watershed. Ms. Wynne will also be working with the students later this year to mark and plant around some of Belvedere’s storm drains.


Next up: A geologist and an oceanographer visit Belvedere in 2015 during the fifth grade units on landforms and oceans.

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