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Skidmore students conduct pioneering research at Al Gore's Caney Fork Farms

December 4, 2019

Skidmore students Zoe Pagliaro ’20 and Shay Kolodney ’21 are the first two college students ever to conduct scientific research at Caney Fork Farms, headquartered on the family farm of former Vice President Al Gore.

Over the summer, the two environmental sciences majors embraced the extraordinary opportunity to collect and document soil samples that will lead to a greater understanding of how sustainable agriculture techniques can help reduce the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Through their work with Kris Covey, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences at Skidmore, the data is being used to develop an app that could give farmers a financial incentive to use methods that pull carbon out of the atmosphere and back into the soil, where it benefits plant growth. Widespread farming practices that degrade the land are making global warming worse and food scarcer, according to a recent United Nations climate report.

Pagliaro and Kolodney said they valued the experience of working independently on the farm, working with real-world practitioners of regenerative agriculture and contributing to the overall conversation about climate change.

“Being part of something that many people are looking to as a solution to climate change creates comfort in that I’m helping to find solutions to this human crisis that we’re all facing,” said Kolodney.

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