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Transdisciplinary Knowledge Creation is Anything but Rubbish: Connecting Microbial, Middle School, University, City and Business Communities in an Effort to Remediate an Old Wyoming Landfill

Welsh, Jaynie
Our community-based participatory action project was inspired by four middle school teachers from a small town in Riverton, Wyoming. These educators set out to develop meaningful problem-based learning for sixty 7th grade students enrolled in an interdisciplinary STEM class. In their hometown there was an old, unlined landfill that closed in 1983 and since its closure, community baseball fields were opened on the northern periphery of the site. Our research supported the engineers’ phytoremediative approach and allowed them to suggest best locations for plant growth. The 7th-grade students have formed diverse teams and they are creating a plan of action for how to tell this story to the citizens of their town and state. Along with their teachers, they will present this story to their City School Board in May and at a state-wide conference in August. In this community-based participatory action research project, we have knit together unlikely collaborative partners, from 7th grade students to distinguished city leaders to empower, liberate and connect communities. Likewise, our research is transdisciplinary, and encompasses knowledge creation through techniques ranging from microbial DNA sequencing and computer coding to storytelling. This Honors Thesis will focus less on the lab results of that research, and more on the impact of the experience. In the spirit of Participatory Action Research, we will tell our story collaboratively through self-interviews using questions that we drafted together to create a video. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_ovy4RM30c&t=114s
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University of Wyoming. Libraries