by Elizabeth Barton
Society for Range Management:
In late January, a group of BYU students from the Department of Plant & Wildlife Sciences placed fourth in the Plant ID and Undergraduate Range Management competitions at the annual Society for Range Management meetings in St. George, Utah. Competing against 29 different Western universities such as Oregon State and Texas A&M, BYU has—according to Plant & Wildlife Sciences professor Steve Petersen—a superb reputation at the event. The BYU team is typically composed of 8-15 students who spend months (and even years) preparing to compete. Whether it is by memorizing plant characteristics for the Plant ID competition or studying principles of natural resource management and ecology for the Undergraduate Range Management competition, BYU students reap the long-term retention benefits of thorough preparation. Coming back to campus with a plaque or cash prize? That’s the cherry on top.
From Gummy Bears to Greens:
As most parents know, getting children to eat their vegetables is easier said than done. With increased vegetable servings and salad bars at American public schools, however, shouldn’t children and adolescents feel more motivated to eat their greens? According to BYU health science professor Lori Spruance, the mere presence of a salad bar is not enough. For her recent study published in Health Education and Behavior, Spruance and coauthors from Tulane University tracked the salad bar usage of students in New Orleans public schools and administered surveys to students. They found that good, old-fashioned marketing through methods like signage and informational newsletters is key. So key, in fact, that students at schools with this type of marketing are almost three times more likely to use the salad bar.
To Run or Not to Run
We’ve all heard running is bad for our knees, but how bad is it really? According to research authored by exercise sciences professor Robert Hyldahl and additional BYU coauthors Matthew Seeley, Sarah Ridge and Ty Hopkins, pounding the pavement (in moderation, of course) could actually offer protection against joint damage. Covered by a variety of prominent news outlets—including the New York Times and Runnerís World—the research itself was conducted with a small sample size. Looking forward, Dr. Hyldahl is interested in repeating a similar study with larger numbers to bolster the study’s credibility. In the meantime, it looks like there is one less excuse not to run.
Dr. Jamie Jensen at the Smithsonian
Dr. Jamie Jensen of the biology department was invited to be the guest speaker at a free public panel discussion at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on April 30th. The discussion’s topic was “Religious Audiences and the Topic of Evolution: Lessons from the Classroom.” A specialist in the development and assessment of undergraduate biology curricula, Jensen spoke on the intersection of faith and science in the undergraduate classroom.