Ten students from Harrisburg High School, along with AP Environmental Science teacher Mr. Andrew Koch and six students from neighboring school districts, have just begun a 10-day research adventure in the Costa Rican rainforest. While in Central America, students will collaborate with scientists from the University of Costa Rica and Augustana University as part of an ongoing effort to study the antibiotic resistance crisis that has impacted the world in recent decades. By studying the microbiome and genetics of leafcutter ants, butterflies, and other insects who have developed ways to battle dangerous pathogens such as invasive bacteria, they hope to contribute authentic, meaningful data to the broader research being performed by Seeds of Change Research, a non-profit organization based in Minnesota with a mission to encourage high school students to pursue science-related careers. “This is truly a life-changing opportunity for our students,” says Harrisburg Director of Instruction and Federal Programs Dr. Michael Amolins, “Seeds of Change provides us with the opportunity to present them with an authentic research experience that is often reserved for undergraduate and graduate students. They will be the first of many cohorts from Harrisburg to be a part of this project, which we hope to eventually incorporate into our classroom experiences during the school year as part of what is known as bioprospecting – the process of identifying, isolating, and studying antibiotic drug candidates with pharmaceutical potential.” Students will spend seven days in the rainforest, followed by a two-day excursion to the Pacific Ocean where they will study sea turtle nesting behavior with a marine biology research team. If you are interested in following these Harrisburg students on their journey, or learning more about Seeds of Change, please follow the links below. To learn more about Seeds of Change Research: https://www.socresearch.org To follow our Harrisburg Students on their journey (each daily journal entry will be written by one of our student researchers): https://sdseedsofchange.blogsp... If you are interested in having your child participate in next year’s Seeds of Change trip with HHS students, please contact Dr. Amolins at Michael.Amolins@k12.sd.us.