The first day of spring is March 20, and experts at the University of Colorado Boulder are planting new, big ideas ahead of the new season. From a rise in interfaith marriages to digging into the scientific benefits of gardening, our experts are available for interviews to discuss their latest discoveries and expertise related to spring.
Why gardening is good for you
Anyone who has ever dug their hands into the soil suspects it: Gardening must be good for you. Now science confirms it. In the first-ever randomized controlled trial of community gardening, Jill Litt, professor of environmental studies, and collaborators at Denver Urban Gardens found that gardeners ate more fiber, got more exercise and stressed less—all known ways to reduce disease risk. “These findings provide concrete evidence that community gardening could play an important role in preventing cancer, chronic diseases and mental health disorders,” said Litt.
How soybeans could hold the key to drug shortages
Each year shark populations are decimated for oils used in vaccines and old growth trees are felled for chemotherapy ingredients. Seedling Biosystems––a new CU Boulder startup founded by Brian DeDecker, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, and his students––hopes to turn soybeans into tiny chemical factories which produce these scarce compounds, while going easy on the earth. The same process could also be used to generate healthy proteins found in breast milk. “Someday, there could be soybean fields across the Midwest dedicated to biopharming,” DeDecker said.
Noah Molotch is associate professor of geography, a fellow at and lead for the Mountain Hydrology Group at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). He can discuss mountain snowpack, water supply and drought; new satellite technology for measuring water; and the possible impacts of climate change on water availability, recreation, floods and wildfire hazards.
Passover, Easter and interfaith celebrations
The weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday April 5, and is observed through Saturday, April 13. Samira Mehta, professor of Jewish studies and author of “Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States," is available to discuss how families have adapted Passover celebrations in the 21st century. As Passover and Easter Sunday overlap on April 9 this year, she can also speak about the rise in interfaith marriages and how these families have combined and adapted their religious celebrations. Note: Availability is limited. Advance notice required.