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Juneteenth Closure

TCC will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

TCC celebrates the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day

Tidewater Community College students celebrated Arbor Day with a tree planting and gardening event at the Chesapeake Campus.

Campus Dean Emily Hartman kicked off the celebration held behind the student center by saying, “Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Our students, faculty and staff are excited to be part of this historic moment. Let’s get planting!”

Students from the Horticulture department and the Biology and Outings Club got their hands dirty planting native plants designed to attract butterflies and beautify the campus. They also planted a Japanese maple tree as the centerpiece in the garden. The tree was donated by Ryan Osborne, a Chesapeake Campus staffer.

TCC’s Chesapeake Campus is the college’s “green” campus and a Certified Monarch Way Station.

Professor Marc Wingate, who leads the Biology and Outings Club, says activities like these add to the classroom learning, but more importantly, connect students to nature. “It’s important for students to connect to the resources they depend upon, even though they may not realize it. Our food doesn’t come from Walmart, it comes from the Earth.”

Horticulture program lead Andrea Tomlin added, “This work helps my students identify plants and appreciate the environment. We are hoping to make a small difference every time we gather to volunteer.”

The garden can be found by following the path behind the pond of the Chesapeake Campus Student Center.

“Everyone is invited to come and enjoy this beautiful garden and serene setting,” added Hartman. “It’s a campus gem we hope many in our community will enjoy.”

Campus Dean Emily Hartman with biology professor Marc Wingette and Horticulture Department lead Andrea Tomlin.
Student volunteers from the Horticulture Department and the Biology and Outings Club, with TCC staff.

Portsmouth biology professors get creative with virtual labs

What can you do with two pieces of bubble gum, two pieces of wax, 1 meter of string and a ruler?

Demonstrate the scientific method, of course!

Tidewater Community College students taking summer biology classes on the Portsmouth Campus discovered that in their initial remote lab experiment.

“Our faculty found creative ways for students to be successful and save money,” said Michelle Woodhouse, interim vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer.

TCC students didn’t have to hunt down the supplies for the online labs, either. Instead, everything they needed for every lab was packaged and delivered curbside by staffer Nancy Jones, who wore gloves and a mask while passing kits through the passenger window.

Jones typically sets up labs for science students, but the transition to virtual learning due to COVID-19 prompted professors Katrina Dash and Siobhan Harris to be more innovative than usual. Typically science kits for in-person labs cost students $140. Instead, Dash and Harris devised their own kits that largely consist of everyday items, including peroxide, vinegar, food coloring, sugar and fruit.

Supplies for the science lab kits

Originally the plan called for students to purchase the materials themselves.

“Then we re-evaluated,” Jones said. “We didn’t want to spring that on our students and have them out shopping during COVID.”

Instead, Jones collected the items, many already in supply on campus and others bought at The Dollar Store. “Baking soda is a cleaning agent and so is peroxide, so because of COVID-19, they were a little harder to find.”

Jones assembled all the nonperishable items in the kits in her home – “to the delight of my cats” – she noted and even color-coded them for easy distribution at the Portsmouth Campus. BIO 101 students received one kit; BIO 106, another, and she even ensured students had the right size of gloves before they drove away.

Cost to the student: $0. She estimates each kit cost no more than $5 to assemble.

“Students take pictures of themselves performing the labs,” Harris said. Also, they answer questions on the lab and must pass a quiz. The integrity of the lab is important. We want this to be a real learning experience.”

Ninety kits were assembled; WAVY chatted with the professors and Jones during one of two distribution days.