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Florida's First 'Body Farm' to Help Train Future Forensic Scientists

https://vimeo.com/147354574
Photo: University of South Florida

The University of South Florida and Pasco County are dedicating a new outdoor forensic training facility, referred to by some as a “body farm,” to help train a new generation of forensic scientists 

The facility, the first of its kind in Florida, will bury human bodies that were donated to science in order to study how Florida's soil, weather, and other environmental factors affect the decomposition process. 

The project is a joint effort by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and USF's Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Sciences for the five-acre facility aimed at training both students and current law enforcement officers.

FGCU professor of forensic science Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney, who has lent her expertise to popular shows touching on forensics like NCIS and Bones, joins the show to talk about the sometimes-grim profession of a forensic scientist, and how such a facility can provide insight into how Florida's unique subtropical environment can impact death investigations. 

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.