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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meet Kyle: Master in Training

This fall, the Berry Center is fortunate enough to hire a graduate student, Kyle Bolenbaugh.  Kyle will begin working on his Masters of Science degree at the University of Wyoming in the Department of Botany, working with the Berry Center's Director Greg Brown, who also hails from the botany department as a professor and department head.  Kyle will be monitoring and assessing multiple aspects of the Berry Center’s green roof, including species survivability, reproduction and seed set, adaptations, pollinators and more.  He received his bachelors degree from the University of Wyoming in microbiology in 2009.

Green Roof Wrangler

Some of you may remember Kyle from earlier this summer when he helped install the green roof in June (he's center-left in the photo below) as a volunteer turned hired-hand.  He has been watering the Berry Prairie every day since it was installed to ensure plants establish enough roots and biomass to make it through the intense summer sun and frigid winter... everything.  So far there have been less than a dozen plant moralities, largely due to Kyle's attention and dedication.

Kyle Bolenbaugh, in the center with the orange shirt, volunteered for the green roof installation project.  Starting August 22, he'll be the Berry Prairie's first graduate student.

Kyle also helped Dorothy with the group of day care kids from Cheyenne learn about plants, pollinators and their connections.

Kyle helps three children identify the insect they caught in their net.  July 29, 2011

The Big Picture

Supporting Kyle's research is one of the ways the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center seeks to ensure education, research and public engagement are its central focuses, and this includes the Berry Prairie in a big way.  The approach used in creating the Berry Prairie is fairly new in the green roof movement, so there is a need to systematically study its progress, challenges and successes, as well as widely share our findings.  Kyle's dedication to studying the science of the green roof will help ensure this mission is appropriately carried out.

You'll be seeing more of Kyle over the next two years - stop by and say hello if you see him watering, weeding, counting, observing or just generally hanging out.

Written by Brenna Wanous, Berry Center

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