David likes learning languages and is currently studying Chinese, Spanish, and Hebrew. He also tutors middle and elementary school children after school. Because he finds "learning, teaching, and helping others very rewarding," he is interested in becoming a teacher or scientist someday.
The Cedar Fire of 2003 was one of the largest wildfires in California's history, burning more than 700,000 acres. After witnessing fire damage in his hometown, David became curious about how plant species repopulate areas that have been devastated by fires. He decided to investigate whether native or invasive plants were more likely to regrow in a nearby nature preserve, as well as what role soil may play in this process.
Every three weeks from November 2003 to May 2006, David observed the number and species of plants that grew back in a burned area of the preserve. He also took samples of the soil, measuring its moisture and the amounts of nutrients such as nitrate and potassium. He found that native plants were more likely than nonnative plants to grow back in the burned areas. He also discovered that nutrients didn't decrease significantly in the burned soil, remaining stable over time.