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July 18th, 2009

Plant Study Results!

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

Tonight is a big night for me — I’m getting ready to leave for soccer camp with many of the women soccer players from the U.S. World Cup team – Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett — and I also harvested the carrots I grew from seed for the last five months. I started three groups of carrot seeds, one in water from a turf field, one in water from a grass field, and one with tap (plain) water from our sink.

In the beginning, I was surprised that the seeds grown with water runoff from synthetic turf grew fastest, and their greens grew tallest. I thought their carrots would be the biggest! The carrots grown with grass water struggled a little at first, and grew thinner greens on top. But they survived. The carrots grown with tap water grew more over the last couple weeks. I took the carrots out of their pots tonight, and we weighed and measured them.

Measuring Size of Tap Water Carrot

Measuring Size of Tap Water Carrot

Measuring Size of Turf Water Carrots

Measuring Size of Turf Water Carrots

Claire bagging the carrots to keep for Dr. Paytan's lab

Claire bagging the carrots to keep for Dr. Paytan's lab

The results: Turf water produced five carrots! But they were all quite thin, and measured 2″, 1″, 1.5″ and just under 1″. All together they weighed 1/8 oz. The greens were 9.5″ and 11″ tall. The seeds grown from grass water turned into — one forked carrot! It measured 1.5″ and weighed 1/8 oz. The surprise to me was that the carrot grown from plain tap water was the biggest. It was 2″ long, and weighed 1/4 oz., which is twice as big as the grass carrot and twice as much as the five skinny turf carrots! So tap water wins. When I see Professor Adina, I think she will help analyze the soil that the carrots grew in, and also the plants that grew from each of the different waters.
It is very interesting that these carrots were the start of my study – of what do the different types of water do to living things, how will growing the same seeds in three different waters result in different changes in the plants.  I can see big differences between the three groups of carrots: the turf carrots had strong greens but wimpy carrots. The grass had a bigger carrot, but just one, and it struggled. The tap water carrot grew the biggest of all three. It will be interesting to see when Dr. Adina is able to use the instruments in her lab to see how the soils may have absorbed different chemicals from being watered with the different waters, and maybe the carrots will contain different chemicals.
Being a scientist is like being a detective!

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HM from
December 22, 2009
at 9:39 pm

Saw you on Channel 7 tonight. You were great. So excited you chose this study. The Environmental Protection Agency should pay attention.
The controversy of plastic vs. grass is nationwide. Sports coaches wanting the 24/7 play time vs parents concerns on children’s and environments’ health, bacteria and cleanliness of fields and water quality. You are trying to answer these questions. Turf manufacturers are unable to sway he results.
Your studies will be of interest to many schools and towns . You have done well. You ask the right questions. Congratulations.