Central New York Middle School Students Engage in Real-World Science and Learn from Habitat Experts, University Professors, and Scientists During Weeklong Investigation of Onondaga Lake Watershed
July, 2014 - Sixty-two middle school students from eight Central New York school districts completed Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST this month. The weeklong exploration of the Onondaga Lake watershed aims to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math education while becoming environmental stewards in their communities. Students studied local birds in their habitats, bug collecting, water testing, and GPS sampling procedures.
Students take the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the Onondaga Lake watershed.
Students plant a hummingbird garden adjacent to the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center. The planting was organized by the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps, which offers opportunities to participate in hands-on activities that help restore and sustain the watershed and its value as an Important Bird Area. Left to right: Manlius Pebble Hill School students Haley Morgan and Bianca Melendez Martineau; Anna Markert, a student at Pine Grove Middle School; and Abigail Zumbuhl, a student at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School, plant habitat that will help attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
In its ninth year, Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST has engaged more than 500 Central New York students in hands-on science exploration, inspiring them to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math education.
Students learned from habitat experts and engineers about diverse habitats and their importance in supporting the watershed. Left: Camillus Middle School student Sammi Eades observes a turtle found in Onondaga Lake. Right: Gabby Rivera, a Solvay Middle School student, holds a longnose gar.
On Monday, July 7, Honeywell and Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) joined the middle school students aboard the Emita II tour boat on Onondaga Lake to kick off Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST. Left to right: Syracuse University Professor Dr. Charles Driscoll, MOST Exhibits Project Manager Dr. Peter Plumley, President of the MOST Larry Leatherman, and Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe at Opening Day.
“Kids are inherently interested in science, particularly when they are young,” said Syracuse University Professor Dr. Charles Driscoll. “Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST is critically important for kids to maintain that energy and enthusiasm through high school and college. We have a tremendous shortage of scientists and engineers. It is an area of great need, so it is really important to sustain their interest.”
“Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST opened up my view of the environment and inspired me to create new projects and research that will impact our local environment and affect it in ways that will help generations to come. The experience shines light onto how scientists take an active approach to current issues while giving you the opportunity to discover it for yourself,” said Emerson Czerwinski Burkard, a 2011 graduate of Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST and student at Manlius Pebble Hill School. Above: Czerwinski Burkard helps a student identify an insect found at Onondaga Creek.
During Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST, habitat experts from Syracuse University, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), and Montezuma Audubon Center teach the students about habitats and preserving the watershed. Left: Max Moore, a Lincoln Middle School student, uses his workbook to record a bird seen during the boat tour. Center: Megan Delia (left), a Camillus Middle School student, and Hope Rivera, a Solvay Middle School student, enjoy the boat tour. Right: Matt Solan, a Solvay Middle School student, uses binoculars to identify a belted kingfisher.
Left: Lauren Hurd and Colin Haven, both Solvay Middle School students, work with West Genesee Middle School student Katherine Baldwin to measure the water velocity in Onondaga Creek. Right: Camillus Middle School student Karsyn Plis and West Genesee Middle School students Katie Eno and Hannah Walsh identify bug species found at Onondaga Creek.
“Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST has provided more than 500 Central New York middle school students field experience through hands-on investigations of the Onondaga Lake watershed,” said MOST Exhibits Project Manager Dr. Peter Plumley. “The weeklong exploration introduces students to scientific methodology and observation of the natural world. The experience gives them confidence to successfully pursue STEM topics in high school, and many go on to participate in the Central New York Science & Engineering Fair.”
“Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST is an innovative partnership that provides Central New York middle school students with the unique opportunity to learn from experts, who apply real-life examples to teach science and engineering,” said Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe. “The engaging program inspires student learning while making STEM education exciting and fun.”
Activities also included visits to Heiberg Memorial Forest, Syracuse University, and SUNY-ESF.
Honeywell Discovery Day
Left: The students reunited one last time on July 16 during Honeywell Discovery Day to discuss scientific findings. Students were joined by family members and teachers as they presented their observations. Right: Honeywell Summer Science Week students received completion certificates and became “MOST Associates.” The title of MOST Associate grants each student a one-year museum pass.
Local participating organizations included Montezuma Audubon Center, U.S. Geological Survey, O’Brien & Gere, Anchor QEA, and Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection. Academic partners included teachers from middle schools in the participating school districts, as well as faculty and graduate students from Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF.
Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST was created by the MOST and is sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Honeywell’s corporate citizenship initiative. It is part of Honeywell’s overall initiative to improve STEM education and educate youth about habitat and conservation. Honeywell Hometown Solutions focuses on key areas of vital importance: Science & Math Education; Family Safety & Security; Housing & Shelter; Habitat & Conservation; and Humanitarian Relief.
For more photographs of Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST, click here.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.lakecleanup.com.