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Addition of greenhouses will provide new experiential learning opportunities at Cameron University

Cameron University has added two instructional greenhouses to its arsenal of hands-on teaching facilities, thanks to a $210,000 grant from The McMahon Foundation. Situated on the west side of the Sciences Complex, the greenhouses will offer year-round growing in a controlled environment and are conveniently located near the classrooms where biology and agriculture courses are taught.

“The trustees of the McMahon Foundation continue to embrace Cameron’s goal of providing experiential learning in facilities that offer easy access to our students,” says Albert Johnson Jr., Vice President for University Advancement. “Learning about growing and collecting soil samples in the classroom is helpful, but experiences through hands-on activities, truly expands learning. The greenhouses will offer CU students numerous opportunities to ‘get their hands dirty,’ if you will, as they work toward degree completion.”

Dr. Mike Husak, Chair of the Department of Agriculture, Biology and Health Sciences, says that the new greenhouses will provide students with skills they can utilize after graduation.

“We have plans to use the greenhouses for plant experiments in biology, botany and ecology classes,” Husak explains. “Students enrolled in botany will learn about the anatomical development of plants from seeds onward, while those in ecology will use the space to look at plant competition as it relates to plant density.”

Agriculture students, particularly those with an interest in agronomy and earth sciences, will also utilize the facilities. According to Dr. Ali Fornah, Assistant Professor, the greenhouses will provide a plethora of activities that are relevant to careers in soil sciences.

“By planting corn and beans, students will learn the difference between cereals and legumes as well as how to distinguish monocots and dicots,” Fornah says. “We will have the ability to conduct a plant spacing experiment by using the recommended spacing versus using reduced spacing, to help students recognize the importance of appropriate plant spacing.”

Other applications include teaching students how to properly plant vegetables, how to use a green seeker sensor on different plants to determine nitrogen use efficiency, and how to collect and analyze soil samples. Students will also learn about appropriate fertilizer applications as well as when and how to harvest different plants.

“We are truly indebted to the McMahon Foundation for making these facilities possible,” says Johnson. “The vision of the McMahon trustees will continue to benefit Cameron students for generations to come.”

The McMahon Foundation has provided more than $19 million in support to Cameron University in recent decades, making it the leading donor in the university’s history. In addition to funding countless scholarships and providing support for academic programs, the foundation has funded campus improvements that include the current renovations to the CU Library, the Esports suite, the Academic Commons, the McMahon Centennial Complex, the Louise D. McMahon Fine Arts Complex, various athletic facilities and more.


PR# #21-116

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