The scientific investigation that took them at least three years to develop, and this is not part of any curricular or academic activity, but for the “love of science”, led to the representation of the Coquimbo region in national forums.
Ashley Valdes Segovia, High School 3, and Emilia Chacón Angel, High School 4th High School Dalmatia, synced in electives and began developing a science project in parallel on creating a bio-fertilizer that could help their school get better vegetation in the area.
With the support of Professor of Biology and Natural Sciences, Claudia Vélez Juárez, they have developed their project in the past three years, through continuous interviews, sampling, data collection and experiments in the laboratory, to be able to say that they now have in hand a product that can improve crops in arid lands.
“An alternative to mitigating global warming through biofertilizers,” is the name of the research they worked on which was recently presented at a regional science festival held at the headquarters of the Central University of La Serena, and won first place in the exhibition.
“We are concerned about this problem because of our infertile soil, especially around the school. We are looking for an alternative so that the area becomes fertile and we can give life to the school and why not, to the whole city, explains Emilia.
Meanwhile, Ashley highlights that “our long-term projection is to make a school nicer and more efficient. We want to improve the quality of the school, both in the beauty of the area and in the mental health of the students, to go from a place with no trees, to a place that is green and full of nature” .
Motivated by their project, the school was able to install a hundred plastic bottles with some plants growing indoors, in vertical nurseries on different walls of the campus.
“We have ornamental plants, lettuce, and medicinal plants, which we can contribute to the school. We are excited that young children, from younger years, are asking us how to make orchards to replicate at home. We are happy with Kalita, because it is frankly good to be asked about something we care about. Do,” says Valdes.
The students indicate that they head toward the bio-fertilizer area to try to help the area.
“Of course, we did a lot of research on it, composting bacteria, soil types, and that was our motivation to start developing the project, and from there we did a lot of cases so we could get to the results,” Chekun points out.
The teacher explains that a lot of research has been done in the field, samples are taken from alfalfa, the roots of this plant act as fertilizer due to their nutrients, as they contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil.
“Different substrates were made from school soil, as if to test which one was the best and most feasible to make good plants grow. Six substrates are now in the sample containers, with which they were able to evaluate each of the options,” Velez noted.
The conclusion of the work is that alfalfa roots (bacteria) from alfalfa roots allow for better soil fertilization so that new plants can germinate.
in the laboratory
The students noted that the best part of the process was when they began preparing their own bio-fertilizer: using a mixture of milk, sugar, rhizobium nodules and an oxygen pump, they obtained a certain amount of the natural fertilizer.
“We put the elements of a small aquarium, let it run for 12 hours, and as a result of the experiment we sprinkled the ground and got the fertilizer. It took us more than three months to discover that this was the most effective method. Of course, after extensive investigation and consulting scientific sources and articles, which were Also compatible with our circumstances and our reality, it was very complex,” Chacon recalls.
With their research, they recently won first place in the Regional Science Festival held at the Central University of La Serena, and secured a place in the national final, where they will represent the Coquimbo region.
The competition will bring together the best student projects in the country, in an event organized by Fundación Club Ciencias Chile, which will take place from 25 to 28 October at the headquarters of the Central University of Santiago, which will give one share the International Student Research Exhibition to be held later in Dubai, United Arab Emirates United.