The Chesapeake Garden Club has donated $1,200 to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) in support of a mentoring project created by Dr. Laura Lapham, assistant professor. The goal of the project is mentoring students at the College of Southern Maryland involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.
“We’re pleased to support Lapham and the mentoring program,” said former garden club president Carol Orlando. “This project could inspire a bright, young mind to pursue a career in marine sciences.”
The gift was given in memory of Mabel Briscoe, a long-time member of the Chesapeake Garden Club who passed away in 2007.
Lapham created the STEM mentoring program at the College of Southern Maryland, and in 2008, she was honored as a L’Oréal USA Women in Science Fellow. In spring 2018, Lapham will give a lecture on methane biogeochemistry to students in Assistant Professor Lori Crocker’s biology class at the College of Southern Maryland. Many of the students will then go on research cruise on the R/V Rachel Carson, to give each of them a hands-on experience as a marine scientist. Finally, Lapham will choose a summer intern to analyze the samples collected on the research cruise and report their findings.
Lapham’s work at CBL includes understanding the impact of environmental changes on emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into aquatic environments like the Chesapeake Bay estuary, Arctic freshwater lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seeps.
For more than 90 years, CBL has been a national leader in fisheries, estuarine ecology, environmental chemistry and toxicology. CBL is the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. Some 2017 research highlights include:
- Advising agencies on blue crab management to support the resurgence of blue crab in the Bay.
- Developing a citizen science program to understand dolphins in the Bay (Learn more: Chesapeakedolphinwatch.org).
- Monitoring water quality in Southern Maryland bays and creeks.