Student wins 2nd place in the Long Term Ecological Research Poster Fair


Photo by Harry Ervin

On Oct. 3, Harry Ervin, a senior at Calvin, was the first ever undergraduate student to win 2nd place in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) poster fair. The LTER is an all-science conference held every three years in Pacific Grove, CA. The LTER conference has been around for about 40 years and focuses primarily on extensive ecological research. During his research, Ervin received sponsorship from the REU travel grant program (National Science Foundation) and the KBS Lauff Fellowship for Undergraduate Research (Michigan State). Ervin was involved in an ongoing research project which was instigated about 25 years ago. He worked at the Kellogg biological station, a Michigan State University station, which has an LTER extension for undergraduate research.

During that time, Ervin did massive studies using Switch Grass, a prairie plant used as a biofuel crop. In addition, he performed various tests and experiments, one of which includes the Wisconsin Fast Plant, a fast-growing plant. “The purpose of my research was to investigate how plants and microbes interact with each other to increase agricultural systems drought tolerance,” says Ervin. Erika Purcell-Williams, the administrative assistant to the biology, chemistry, and biochemistry departments, said, “His recent award for a presentation made at the LTER conference stands out as a significant achievement among Calvin students and certainly represents the spirit of stewardship, ‘caretaking’ and living a life led by one’s calling.”