Front Entrance of Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center

RPSEC Environmental Science Award 2012

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Congratulations to Celeste Thompson & Clarissa Thompson from Alleluia Community School, Augusta, GA, recipients of the 2012 Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center Environmental Science Award.

The 2012 CSRA Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held on March 10, 2012 at USCA. There were over 200 projects from CSRA schools displayed at the fair. Each year, the RPSEC presents an environmental science award in honor of Dr. Ruth Patrick. Dr. Patrick pioneered work in the study of fresh water ecosystems and developed methods for measuring the health of these systems.

2012 ThompsonsSciFairProject
2012 ThompsonsSciFairExper

Title of Project

"The Implosion of Erosion"


The purpose of the project, The Implosion of Erosion, was to determine if the addition of various aggregates, such as gravel, to sand is conducive to reducing erosion and if lawns with taller grass reduce erosion more efficiently than lawns with shorter grass. The hypothesis of the project is "lawns with tall grasses and permeable soil reduce erosion and retain storm water most effectively".

A sand control was the basis for measuring the effect of erosion. Fine and coarse aggregates were added to the sand separately and then added to the sand combined. Wheat grass was added to the combined mix of sand and fine and coarse aggregates. The effect of interception was determined by comparing the erosion of the tall and short wheat grass trials to each other. Water, which was poured into the rain simulator, washed away sediment and became runoff. The excess water and sediments that flowed into the beaker were separated and measured. The sediment was dried and weighed and the amount of water runoff was measured with a graduated cylinder. Interception was measured by comparing the trials with tall wheat grass to the trials with short wheat grass. Water runoff and sediments were measured in these trials also.

It was apparent, from the results, that the role of interception was important in the reduction of erosion and storm water runoff. Therefore, lawns with tall grass (more leaf area) are more effective at the prevention of erosion than lawns with short grass. Sand with the combination of fine and coarse gravel slowed down water and sediment runoff most efficiently. Lawns that have various sized aggregates, porous soil, and vegetation are the best choice to prevent soil erosion.