Wellesley's Dan Brabander Gives Boston Magazine Gardening Tips from Geosciences Perspective

May 16, 2012
Dan Brabander works with students in an urban garden

Wellesley’s Daniel Brabander, associate professor of geosciences, shared his expertise with Boston Magazine for the story "Build a Farm to Fit,” published in the May 2012 issue.

Brabander recommends, “Maximize your productivity and dilute lead content by mixing new compost into your raised beds each spring. Also, remember to wash your hands after working with dirt that may be contaminated.”

Branbander’s research interests emphasize multidisciplinary projects that foster collaboration among biologists, chemists, geologists and environmental engineers—and involve research experiences for undergraduates. His current research focus is environmental geochemistry and the quantification of biogeochemical processes in watersheds, aquifers, and in the urban environment.

This past March, several of his students presented at the Northeastern Geosciences of America annual meeting (NE-GSA) in Hartford, Conn. The meeting, themed 200 Years of Geology in the Northeast, celebrated the 1818 founding of the American Journal of Science and over a century of accomplishments – it also brought together several generations of Wellesley College Geoscientists.

“The conference lead organizer was alumna Jean Crespi ‘80, and emerita faculty member Meg Thompson, who was Jean’s advisor, also presented,” Brabander said. “So three generations of Wellesley GEOS were presenting at the conference.”

Students who presented included environmental sciences students Florence Kamonji ’13 and Maia Fitzstevens ’13, as well as geosciences students Julia Di Cicco ’12 and Ellen Bechtel '14. Geosciences student Alex Hatem '12 and assistant professor Katrin Monecke also attended.

“Providing research experiences as part of the curricular approach for ES and GEOS majors is a central theme of our program,” Brabander said. “These experiences provide scaffolding to make the transition from student to colleague.”

A past project by Brabander and student researchers includes studying and cleaning up lead contaminated urban gardens in Roxbury and Dorchester, Mass.