Energy

Environmental Science
Energy has remained one of the major focuses of the class all year. In the video clip below, Andrew Regelski explains a recent project regarding a possible energy savings practice the class has discovered. I had dropped by unannounced and I appreciate his willingness to speak spontaneously before a camera.

Mill Creek Trip

Environmental Science
On 10/15/12, the class visited Mill Creek (north of Honeoye Lake) as part of this year's study of local watersheds. Students collected creek data including a sampling of macroinvertebrates using the protocols developed by the Finger Lakes Regional Stream Monitoring Network. LINK FLRSMN
Afterward the class worked on self-selected follow-up activities which included:
  • identify organisms they were unable to I.D. in the field
  • entering data into the FLRSMN data base
  • comparing creek data from other local streams including Harley
  • using Google Earth to better understand the area through which Mill Creek flows
The day I visited the group was an active model of how successfully students can become agents of their own learning when given the opportunities provided by field work and on-line research. Environmental Science is a Grade 12 elective program where students are encouraged to follow intrinsic interests under the mentorship of teacher, Peter Hentschke. Below are a few snap shots of the creek visit and the follow-up research.


Environmental Science: The Fall Work


Over the last six weeks in Environmental Science, we have focused our study in three areas:
  • stream ecology
  • the application of geographic information systems (G.I.S.) technology to environmental issues
  • individual long-term project planning.

We began the year learning about the different parts of an ecosystem and seeing how ecosystems "work." To do this, we have been studying two local streams--Allen's Creek and Mill Creek. In each case we:
  • measured and analyzed the physical and chemical factors that define each stream habitat.
  • collected and analyzed the benthic macroinvertebrates we found living in each stream.
  • submitted our data for each stream to the Finger Lakes Stream Monitoring Network and it is now part of an online database for streams in the region.
  • have learned how "healthy" each of these streams is, and which has been measurably impacted by human activities over the years.

Our second major focus of study has been learning about G.I.S. technology and how it can be used to investigate and analyze environmental issues.
  • we have been working with Google Earth and will be using it to analyze some water pollution issues that have surfaced in New York State.

Finally, the students have chosen and started work on long-term projects that they will investigate over the next few months. These projects include:
  • documenting the construction of the Chesonis Commons and the "green technologies" that will be incorporated into the building's systems, analyzing and comparing the environmental and health costs of drinking tap versus bottled water,
  • investigating the extent to which road salt enters various sections of Allen's Creek
  • determining how dissolved oxygen levels vary spatially and temporally across different sections of Allen's Creek.