Julie Lüttgen

The First Baylab Vacation in Monheim – Modern Agriculture and Nutrition

What does farming look like in the 21st century and how can we provide enough food for a global population that is constantly growing?

These questions weigh particularly heavily on the younger generation, which is why the 13 youngsters attending the first vacation science lab at Baylab in Monheim turned their attention to “Modern Agriculture and Nutrition”. Over four days, the 14- to 16-year-olds examined different viewpoints, gained some practical experience and discussed complex issues.

They started off in Baylab student laboratory, where they spent two days discovering and experimenting with a whole range of lab techniques, from DNA isolation to the production of bioethanol from canola. They completely forgot they were in the midst of their school vacation as they focused on their pipetting and mixing tasks. It wasn’t long before they learned that conducting your own experiments is far more exciting than just studying theory from a text book. Gasps of “Oh, wow!” were a common sound.

Julie Lüttgen,
biologist and coordinator of the vacation science lab

On the third day, at the Bayer ForwardFarm Damianshof in Rommerskirchen, farmer Bernd Olligs introduced the students to his work. He told them about the challenges and opportunities of modern agriculture and gave an insight into the various ways that the soil, waterways and pollinators can be protected. The youngsters also got some hands-on experience, sampling sugar beet fresh from the field and searching for seed potatoes in the earth.

The fourth day, at the Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, focused on the protection and health of bee populations. As they stood in the middle of a swarm, holding a beekeeper’s hat, they learned about how important bees are for farming and food, and plenty of popular myths were dispelled. The day ended with the students writing their own post about the day – #beecreative.

All in all, the young scientists spent four educational and exciting days of their summer vacation with us discovering how modern agriculture and nutrition is a very complex yet fascinating area with many facets, which need to be considered. It’ is good to know that there is already a new interested generation.

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