With the help of a travel grant from GoGreenGalloway, Environmental Science major, Isaac Maxwell presented his research findings at the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. He combined Environmental Science and History while studying a historic area in Maryland by analyzing seeds contained in core soil samples. The samples contained a cross section of soil going back hundreds of years. Combining environmental research techniques with archival research, Isaac was able to reconstruct the historical land use of the site from the seeds embedded in the soil.
Historical maps of the site give some general indications of the agricultural use of the property. He analyzed fossil pollen in his soil cores and used dendrochronology techniques to determine the land use and agricultural practices on current and historical farmland at the site. In addition, archival research provided historical records of the economic output of the region. The analysis yielded a unique insight into Maryland’s economic and cultural history, the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, and the impact of slavery on the region’s development.