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Squad > Katya Hafich
is a hydrologist with a primary interest in how nutrients cycle through alpine watersheds. She conducts research at the headwaters of Boulder Creek at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Site, here in the Front Range of Colorado. Her studies have taken her from the tropical rainforest in Costa Rica to the southern Rockies of New Mexico and Colorado. She is enthusiastic about helping your students understand how the climate system works and drives hydrological processes.
Glaciers on the Move
Glaciers are the celebrities of climate change, and we have some of our very own here in Colorado! They are frozen rivers that move through time, changing the landscape as they go. Students will learn about how glaciers move and change by observing how a "flubber" glacier slides down a tiny mountain valley. While honing their observation skills, they will learn how slope and basal conditions affect glacier movement. (Grades K-8)
Of Microbes and Men: The Nitrogen Cycle
Nitrogen makes up 80% of the air we breathe, and is necessary for all organisms to live and grow. Nitrogen can be found in air, water, soil, plants, animals, even in the snow! In a hands-on game, students will be nitrogen atoms travelling through the environment. As nitrogen travels it can take many forms, as a gas in N2 or NOx, or part of nitrate and ammonia particles. Students will gain understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle, the relevance of nitrogen to living things, and the essential roles that microbes and nitrogen-fixing plants play in the cycle. (Grades 6-12)
It's Getting Hot in Here: Temperature at the Earth's Surface
Do you know what an urban heat island is? Is it really cooler in the mountains during the summer? How does land surface cover affect the air temperature? By monitoring mini-landscapes with greenhouse gases, students will observe how different land surfaces regulate air temperature. For example, large amounts of snow and ice keep temperatures low by reflecting the majority of incoming rays, but as soon as ice melts to seawater, temperatures rise because liquid water absorbs incoming rays. By the end of the session, students will understand the concept of albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into the atmosphere from Earth's surface) and how it is a major climate driver. (Grades 9-12)
Katya is a Master's student in the Geography Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her research includes environmental studies through CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).