From the Ground Up

Get the Dirt on Soil! Hype for Hydroponics!

(Previously aired live in November 2022)

In these electronic field trips (look out for November!), students learned about all things soil, from the ground up! Topics covered the importance of soil health across plants and animals, and dove into peanut pod blasting and hydroponic growth techniques.

Who? Middle and High School Students.

What? An electronic field trip featuring soil and crop experts at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC).

Why? To learn about the importance of soil health for different living organisms, hydroponic growth techniques, the work of our local scientists, and how life really does start From the Ground Up!

About the Center

Meet the scientists working at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC)!

NFREC’s mission is to “enhance agriculture, natural resources and quality of life through science,” and they have quite the team to do it! There are 16 faculty members from 8 academic departments, 3 emeritus faculty members and an array of staff members at 3 North Florida locations. All of these individuals work collaboratively with state and federal agencies, and private entities to develop research and extension programs that truly make a difference in North Florida agriculture and natural resources.

Jay Capasso

Jay Capasso is the UF/IFAS Columbia County Row Crop Extension Agent. He received his B.S. in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and M.S. in Soil and Water Sciences from the University of Florida.

Bob Hochmuth

Robert (Bob) Hochmuth serves as the Center Director for the UF/IFAS North Florida Research & Education Center-Suwannee Valley as well as a Regional Specialized Extension Agent for commercial vegetable crops serving the Northeast Extension District of Florida. Bob has experience in a wide variety of areas including: plastic mulch and drip irrigation culture, nutrient management, adopting best management practices, integrated pest management, greenhouse vegetable production, protected ag and hydroponic systems, and more.

Wanda Laughlin

Wanda Laughlin is an Agricultural Assistant at the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center and the Greenhouse Manager at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Extension Center in Live Oak.

Dr. Sudeep Sidhu

Dr. Sidhu is the Extension Regional Specialized Agent of Agricultural Water Management at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Extension Center in Live Oak. Dr. Sidhu leads extension and research efforts to develop site-specific nutrient and water management strategies for various cropping systems in Florida. Within his role, he investigates cropping systems, utilizes field mapping systems and develops on-farm tools for nitrogen and irrigation application.

View the Recordings

Soil science and peanut pod blasting (middle and high schools)

Soil science and peanut pod blasting (virtual 4-H club)

Hydroponics (middle and high schools)

Hydroponics (virtual 4-H club)

Teachers’ Guide

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