As part of Piedmont College’s focus on Critical Thinking, QEP began sponsoring annual Earth Day Celebrations on both campuses in 2010. During these events, students are encouraged to think about their impact on the environment through a variety of performances, displays, pledges, and volunteer opportunities. The student interest in Earth Day is so high, the Student Activities Board has taken over planning all future celebrations to ensure this tradition caries on!
-Pictures of Earth Day-
Piedmont Students have also transferred this interest to the outside community. In 2012, the Chemistry club presented displays at two local elementary schools during their Earth Day Celebrations. The students focused on pollution, healthy living, and careers connected with the environment.
As a product of Earth Day, QEP addressed the need for on-campus recycling. Within the first year of availability, the Demorest Campus alone recycled over two hundred pounds of paper and plastic each week. Both the Athens and Demorest Campuses are now equipped with designated recycling areas and regular pick-up.
Natural Science Seminars
The Department of Natural Sciences teamed with QEP to co-sponsor several series of speakers beginning in 2009. While themes differed widely, each focused on critical thinking in the natural sciences.
(August 26th) Shane Owl-Greason—Managing Partner of Entegrity Solar, LLC
Mr. Greason is an advocate and entrepreneur in the area of alternative energy. He will be discussing his ongoing solar energy projects and the future of alternative energy in Georgia.
(September 9th) Dr. David Lepzelter—Biophysicist, Boston University.
Dr. Lepzelter’s seminar, “Calculus and Differential Equations Can Cure Cancer,” was held early in the day with a focus on Math and Pysics as well as later for the Natural Sciences.
(October 28th) Dr. Troy Mulchner—Sea Grass Ecosystem Ecologist, Kennesaw State University.
(November 18th) Philip Bucolo—Doctoral Candidate researching Antarctic marine life, University of Alabam, Birmingham.
(April 16th) Dr. Susan Richardson, EPA - "Emerging Environmental Contaminants: What's New"
Dr. Richardson, a Research Chemist with the US Environmental Protection Agency who studies contaminants of drinking water, talked with students about recently discovered threats to our drinking water. She also talked about her own research on a particular class of contaminants that are a by-product of drinking-water disinfection.
(February 5th) Dr. Carlos Camp – Once upon a Blackberry
Dr. Carlos Camp presented Once upon a Blackberry his research on black-bellied salamanders. He shared his personal story of becoming a salamander scientist and foreshadowed upcoming capstone presentations by Piedmont College seniors who have been studying interactions between black bellied salamander species.
(October 16th) - Dr. Bill Ensign, Kennesaw State University - "Stream Fish Population and Community Dynamics Along an Urban to Rural Gradient"
Dr. Ensign, a Professor of Biology at Kennesaw State University, presented a compendium of ten years worth of undergraduate research on fish species in North Georgia. His research has focused on fish populations and communities (including native and introduced trout species).
(September 25th) - Dr. Timothy Menzel, Piedmont College - "Non-random Patterns in Ecological Communities: Examples with Ants and Plants"
Dr. Menzel explained his methods of testing for non-random patterns in complex sets of data, and showed how he has incorporated these techniques into his teaching at Piedmont College, where he has been using them to illustrate basic relationships between organisms and their environment.
(September 11th) Dr. Maurice Snook, USDA - "The Chemistry of Host-Plant Resistance in Agricultural Crops"
Dr. Snook is a USDA Research Chemist who studies the chemistry of interactions between insect herbivores and their plant hosts. He informed students about topics such as plant-plant chemical attack; plant-insect chemical defense interactions, and how USDA entomologists, insect physiologists, plant agronomists, plant physiologists, plant geneticists, plant pathologists and chemists are all involved in solving the problem of maintaining our food supply in a sustainable way.