Summer Science Week Class Examines Data from Week-Long Excursion through the Onondaga County Watershed
“I’ll always remember measuring the velocity of the current in Onondaga Creek,” said Paul Neri, a West Genesee Middle School graduate who conducted hands-on science experiments along Onondaga Lake’s watershed during Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST.
Paul was one of 27 students to present his findings and discuss what he learned before an audience of teachers, educators, parents and fellow young scientists during Discovery Day on July 22. Discovery Day, hosted by Honeywell and the MOST, marks the end of the fourth Summer Science Week for students from nine local school districts.
“As Onondaga Lake becomes cleaner and cleaner, we hope you use what you learned during Summer Science week to help protect its recovery,” John McAuliffe, Syracuse Program Director told the students. “You represent the bright future of Central New York. You should be proud of the knowledge and experience you have obtained.”
Joining the students were three local teachers, Rick Chapman, Craig Dowler and Sue Potrikus who attended the 2009 Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy, a learning adventure at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The teachers led the students through a project to create an entry descent landing craft, which simulated a space probe landing on Mars. Students were tested on the quality of their craft by the rate of descent and the quality of landing.
Honeywell Summer Science Week activities included a visit to the Shrub Willow Farms, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and Honeywell’s willow project.
With field notebooks in hand, the students spent last week exploring the Onondaga Lake watershed. Thursday’s walk along Onondaga Creek provided the students with a first-hand look at local habitats and native species.
Earlier in the week the young scientists spent an afternoon in the Tully Valley, visited Heiberg Memorial Forest, examined the geology of Clark Reservation and studied Onondaga Lake bird life with Montezuma Audubon Center Director Frank Moses.
This Wednesday, the students reported on their experiences and the data they collected throughout the week. The reports covered results of their hydraulic testing, GPS usage and insect surveys. MOST Exhibit Project Manager Dr. Peter Plumley and SUNY-ESF graduate students served as the young scientists’ guides.
At the end of the day, the student-scientists received completion certificates and became MOST Associates. The title of MOST Associate will grant each student a year of free access to the museum.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, visit www.onondaga-lake-initiatives.com.