Independent Research

Independent Research Projects

The farm is an excellent venue for applied research. Faculty, students and community partners have taken advantage of the farm for research purposes. A goal of the farm is to become an information resource for farmers, students and educators on new techniques for raising all-natural food crops, preserving bio diversity and conserving the natural resources on the farm. Independent research projects are designed and carried out by students. Also involved in the projects are faculty from the appropriate departments plus farm staff who work as a team to support the student and help facilitate the research. Students interested in pursuing an independent research project at the farm are encouraged to contact Jenn Halpin  or Matt Steiman  at the farm, in addition to recruiting the appropriate faculty to support their project. Examples of ongoing research at the farm include tracking the populations of indigenous bees on the farm by creating habitats that support their longevity, establishing a blue bird trail for wildlife diversity, surveying snake species and populations on the farm, as well as tracking the flow of ground water at key locations on the farm. Examples of independent study projects for which students earned academic credit include incorporating public art at the farm; investigating the compostability of glycerol, a biodiesel by-product; and documenting the interactions between farm wildlife and farm ecology.



Academic Internships

Farm-based internships are a great way to gain first-hand experience in an area of interest! The College Farm regularly supports students interested in discovering a unique aspect of the farm and food systems; from diversifying the livestock operation to developing an educational curriculum that is farm-based.

The farm staff is dedicated to empowering students through meaningful work that can both enhance the farm program and provide students with skills that can be applied in the classroom or later in life. Students interested in pursuing academically-focused projects at the farm are encouraged to contact the College Farm, in addition to recruiting the appropriate faculty to support their projects.



More about Creativity and Academics on the Farm

Listen to Professors Henson and Cervino’s Joint Audio Presentation from the Seeding the Future Farm Conference (.mp3)

John Henson, Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology, Dickinson College:  Science on the Farm: an Overview of Student/Faculty Research Projects Utilizing the Dickinson College Organic Farm(PDF)

Farm Art: Creativity and the College Farm (PDF) Anthony Cervino, Assistant Professor of Art, Dickinson College

Research:  Non-Chemical Fly Control on Pastured Beef Cattle
From 2017 to 2020 the farm cooperated with Dr. Jason Smith, an entomologist and visiting Biology professor, to study methods for reducing fly populations in our cattle herd without poisons.  Three students gained valuable field research experience through the study and the farm team became much more informed about flies.  Read all about it in our comprehensive fly fact sheet:  Fly IPM Fact Sheet Dickinson 2021

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