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Next Generation of Citizen Scientists: Students Conduct Field Research Throughout the Onondaga Lake Watershed During Honeywell Summer Science Week

Next Generation of Citizen Scientists: Students Conduct Field Research Throughout the Onondaga Lake Watershed During Honeywell Summer Science Week

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Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact Chris Lajewski at montezuma@audubon.org or call 315-365-3588.

Honeywell Summer Science Week

Weeklong Program Inspires Students to Pursue STEM Education and Careers

Nearly 50 local students became citizen scientists this month during Honeywell Summer Science Week, which is organized by the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST). Throughout the week, students conducted research, monitored the Onondaga Lake watershed, and learned about the positive impact of the lake’s cleanup and what affects water quality.

The summer science experience, created by Honeywell and the MOST in 2006, has brought science to life for more than 850 Central New York students over the past 14 years. The program exposes participants to education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Experts lead students on a weeklong journey to sites around Onondaga Creek and Onondaga Lake, where they learn about the watershed and associated environmental sciences. A survey of past program participants shows that Honeywell Summer Science Week helps students gain greater confidence, knowledge, and interest in science and STEM careers.

2019 Honeywell Summer Science Week participants at Onondaga Lake

2019 Honeywell Summer Science Week participants at Onondaga Lake

“Honeywell Summer Science Week provides a tremendous opportunity for students entering high school to contribute to our community by doing impactful science in the field with local scientists, engineers, professors, and current college students,” said MOST Chief Program Officer Peter Plumley, Ph.D. “The program is a wonderful hands-on scientific experience that complements the classroom learning experience by putting school studies into action during the summer break.”

“During Honeywell Summer Science Week, local students conducted real, scientific research throughout the Onondaga Lake watershed,” said Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe. “This one-of-a kind experience inspires the next generation of citizen scientists and gets students excited about careers in STEM.”

Left: Nicholas Rodriguez (left), from East Syracuse Minoa Central School District, and Eric Yao, from Fayetteville-Manlius School District, perform an engineering activity to learn about capping in Onondaga Lake. Right: Participants tour wetlands along Onondaga Lake, studying bird and fish diversity, and microscopic organisms found in and around Onondaga Lake. Fish examined include juvenile largemouth bass, creek chub, and banded killifish.

Left: Nicholas Rodriguez (left), from East Syracuse Minoa Central School District, and Eric Yao, from Fayetteville-Manlius School District, perform an engineering activity to learn about capping in Onondaga Lake.
Right: Participants tour wetlands along Onondaga Lake, studying bird and fish diversity, and microscopic organisms found in and around Onondaga Lake. Fish examined include juvenile largemouth bass, creek chub, and banded killifish.

“The Honeywell Summer Science Week program is an incredible, hands-on, immersive experience for rising high school students in Central New York,” said MOST President Lauren Kochian. “This type of summer program is exactly what makes the MOST so important to our local students’ science education. The MOST is fortunate to have such a wonderful community partner in Honeywell, and we are thrilled to share the wonders of discovery with students each year during Honeywell Summer Science Week.”

On opening day, students visited Honeywell’s Onondaga Lake Visitors Center in Geddes, where Montezuma Audubon Center led a birding expedition to teach students about the importance of birds and their habitats. Experts discussed fish in the lake, and students got an inside look at the Onondaga Lake cleanup, toured wetlands, learned about habitat restoration, identified microscopic organisms, participated in an engineering activity, and learned about watersheds using a hands-on model.

Left: Montezuma Audubon Center Director Chris Lajewski (center left) leads students on a birding expedition near Harbor Brook and the southwest shoreline of Onondaga Lake. Students identified 23 species, including osprey, bald eagle, common tern, caspian tern, common merganser, and hooded merganser. Right: Students examine a juvenile smallmouth bass captured in a seine net by Parsons scientist Jesse Carr (right). Throughout the week students log observations about wildlife that has returned to the Onondaga Lake watershed.

Left: Montezuma Audubon Center Director Chris Lajewski (center left) leads students on a birding expedition near Harbor Brook and the southwest shoreline of Onondaga Lake. Students identified 23 species, including osprey, bald eagle, common tern, caspian tern, common merganser, and hooded merganser.
Right: Students examine a juvenile smallmouth bass captured in a seine net by Parsons scientist Jesse Carr (right). Throughout the week students log observations about wildlife that has returned to the Onondaga Lake watershed.

Honeywell Summer Science Week also included visits to Heiberg Memorial Forest in Tully and Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery in Elbridge, and stops at various points along Onondaga Creek. Activities introduced students to environmental sampling procedures to examine water quality, soil, plants, and wildlife. Program participants toured the SyracuseCoE and the Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The program was open to students who recently completed the seventh and eighth grades and ran July 8-12 and July 17.

Honeywell Discovery Day

Honeywell Summer Science Week concluded Wednesday, July 17, with Honeywell Discovery Day at the MOST. Students presented their scientific research to family members and teachers to share what they learned throughout the week. Students received one-year museum passes and certificates of participation.

Left: Steve Miller, from Honeywell, (center) speaks with Alex Fung (left) and Kevin Fratostitanu (right), both from Manlius Pebble Hill School, about their findings on fish populations. Right: Shane Franklin Jr., from Syracuse City School District, receives a certificate of participation after completing Honeywell Summer Science Week.

Left: Steve Miller, from Honeywell, (center) speaks with Alex Fung (left) and Kevin Fratostitanu (right), both from Manlius Pebble Hill School, about their findings on fish populations.
Right: Shane Franklin Jr., from Syracuse City School District, receives a certificate of participation after completing Honeywell Summer Science Week.

Local companies, organizations, and individuals participating in the week included: Montezuma Audubon Center, Parsons, Onondaga County Parks Department, Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection, faculty and students from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), and students from Syracuse University.

For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.lakecleanup.com.