Project Super Plants
grams of CO2
We are creating a wave of planting activism using Super Plants like native California Melicgrass that absorb more CO2 than normal plants. We are inspiring peers through teaching materials and a classroom kit to grow and track Super Plants.
This involves three steps:
Raising awareness about biodiversity.
Educating about the carbon cycle.
And, inspiring peers to plant Super Plants in schools, homes, and communities.
The Bay Area is one of the nation's six biodiversity hotspots home to hiking in Berkeley's Tilden Park, wading into the San Francisco Bay, and growing vegetables at Alemany Farm. But over the past year alone, we have seen our climate undergoing radical change: massive fires, extreme droughts, and intense storms. As a result, 1 million plants and animals worldwide are at risk of extinction, says a UN report.
Humans emit 34 gigatonnes of CO2 each year -- equivalent to the weight of 185,500,000 Blue Whales. CO2 contributes to global warming through the greenhouse effect, trapping the sun's heat and making the Earth increasingly hotter. This destroys our biodiversity, for example, by increasing droughts that exacerbate wildfires.
By reducing our CO2 emissions we can reverse this cycle.
Plants are our secret ally. Through photosynthesis, they absorb 25% of our CO2 emissions. This insight caused a lightbulb to go off in our heads. We learned it was possible to enhance -- and one day supercharge -- plants' absorption of CO2.
We are using California native "Super Plants" that grow larger root systems to store more carbon dioxide for a longer period of time. They have also adapted to drought and fire conditions by growing deeper root systems, allowing them to secure the carbon dioxide underground, even when destroyed by drought or fire. In the future, we hope to use genetically modified plants that have larger root systems to capture more CO2 and more Suberin to block the roots from decay. Once they are safe for the public to plant, they will enable 300-500% more CO2 capture.
Our Earth has the power to heal itself if we take the right steps.
Parley Marvit, Teammate
Harper Fortgang is a 9th grader at The Nueva School. She loves science, math, and writing. When she’s not exploring changes in the pH level of algae or experimenting with banana biofuel, she practices her violin, plays soccer, and learns to sail. She hopes to be a geneticist, ambassador, or poet.
Lucia Greenhouse is a 9th grader at Proof School. Lucia enjoys math, coding, and science and likes to crochet, play soccer, take pictures, sing, do martial arts, and enjoy the outdoors. In the future, Lucia hopes to link the arts and math/science.
Dr. Michael Yetman
Mentor & Faculty
Parley Marvit is an 8th grader
at Proof School. Her favorite subjects are math, computer science, and biology. Some hobbies of hers are playing violin, writing letters, reading, and coding random cool things. She hopes to be a virologist or a microbiologist.
Dr. Michael Yetman is a biology teacher at Proof School and previously attended the University of Texas at Austin for undergraduate before earning his PhD in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, he found what he wants to be when he grows up - a teacher at Proof School! He enjoys playing music and spending time with his family when he's not teaching or mentoring.