College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Fearless Seeds, a 4-H Adventure in Science

Roy Walls
4-H Adventures in Science participants pause for a picture in front of the Research Greenhouse with their Terrapin shell mosaic of garden seeds
Image Credit: 
Roy Walls

Twenty-two energetic 4-H’ers joined IAA faculty members to fearlessly uncover the mysteries of seeds. 

Emphasizing research that scientists do on seeds, IAA plant science instructor Ken Ingram led the 4-H’ers through the UMD Research Greenhouses including the cold storage room which was a big hit for this fearless group. The 4-H’ers were pleased to discover that seeds, too, are fearless—frequently flying, floating and hitchhiking from one place to the next.  Students experienced seed dispersal mechanisms at work with milkweed, a wind-blown seed type.  Using a dissecting microscope, the students viewed hitchhiking seed sticker mechanisms and floaters like the coconut.

IAA’s sustainable agriculture advisor Meredith Epstein led a hands-on project to identify ten different types of seeds used as food crops. 4-H’ers created a Terrapin mosaic by matching seed samples to identified segments on Terrapin shell art work.

Students potted samples of monocot and dicot seeds that they took home with them to observe sprouting and growth behavior.

Prince Georges County 4-H leader Laura Manzi heads the Adventures in Science program started by Dean Cheng-I Wei three years ago. The goal of the program is to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts while visiting the facilities of a major research university. The 4-H members spend several Saturdays in the fall and spring visiting each department in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Ken Ingram talks about wheat varietal studies during a tour of the Research Greenhouse by participants in the 4-H Adventures in Science program.

Meredith Epstein assists a 4H member in the identification of seeds for a terrapin mosaic during the 4-H Adventures in Science visit to the IAA.


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