High School Students Present Scientific Findings
Environmental Summit tops of year of ESF in the High School
Zebra mussels, biodegradable products, the environmental benefits of vegetarianism, the decline of honey bees, and alternative energy were some of the projects presented by high school students during The Environmental Summit at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
The students are all enrolled in the College's ESF in the High School global environment course, which allows students to experience college-level coursework while still in high school. During the Environmental Summit students present their semester-long research projects to their peers, high school and ESF faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students.
The projects enable the students to engage not only in the knowledge but the process of science.
The Environmental Summit is the culminating event of the ESF in the High School program, said Dr. Richard E. Beal, assistant dean for educational outreach and credit programs outreach. Students take college courses in their own high school and part of the program includes a yearlong research project with a presentation at the summit.
Olivia Powers, a senior at Lafayette High School, spent the year researching vegetarianism and the production of methane. She concluded that vegetarianism has a positive ecological effect on the environment because it reduces the amount of methane in the atmosphere. "With more vegetarians there would be less need for meat and livestock which produce methane … It's (becoming a vegetarian) the most environmentally friendly thing you can do," she said.
Powers, who will enter ESF in the fall to study environmental studies/law and policy, looked at ESF in the High School as preparation for college. "I felt this was a good stop before coming to college," she said.
Nancy Martins, science teacher at Henninger High School, said she sees improvement annually at the Summit. "Each year the content of the projects is raised," she said. "I think about how much they've grown and the complexity of the projects." ESF in the High School will have lasting benefits, she said. "This will carry them through college as they see how to do a presentation."
This year's summit is the largest in the event's history with 200 students participating, according to Beal. ESF in the High School began with grant money but has now become a self-sustaining program. "It's growing and expanding," said Beal.
High schools participating in the Environmental Summit were Chittenango; East Syracuse-Minoa; Fabius-Pompey,;LaFayette; Paul V. Moore, Central Square; G. Ray Bodley, Fulton; Henninger; Institute of Technology; Liverpool, OCM BOCES New Visions; Westhill; and the Syracuse Academy of Science.
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