Nicholas enjoys fishing. He also plays piano, practices tae kwon do, and competes in downhill ski racing. Someday he'd like to become a designer of Web sites and role-playing games, which would be an "exciting job."
The endangered Karner blue butterfly feeds only on a plant, Lupinus perennis, commonly known as lupine. Nicholas learned that researchers have few clues on what promotes the growth of this plant. He decided to study soils to investigate why lupine grows in some areas but not others.
Nicholas collected soil from three different areas in a local park: an area that had been burned, another that was disturbed by human activity, and a third that was undisturbed. He analyzed the levels of moisture, nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium in these soils, then compared these measurements to those of soil from a place where lupine typically grows. He discovered that nutrients in all of the sites tested were not optimal for the plant's growth, indicating that its cultivation to support the Karner blue butterfly will be difficult without modifying the soil.