Students Learn from Experts during July 9-13 Hands-On Science Activities
Seventy middle school students from 10 Central New York school districts completed Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST, a weeklong exploration of the Onondaga Lake watershed that engages students in unique hands-on learning, including studying local birds in their habitats, bug collecting, water testing, GPS sampling procedures, and geology. This was the seventh Summer Science Week and the largest class to date.
City of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Honeywell, and the 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 Summer Science Week. Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney helped students conclude the program as they exhibited their weeklong observations at the MOST. In addition, the Montezuma Audubon Center led a birding expedition to teach students about the importance of birds and their habitats to the Onondaga Lake watershed. Students were also joined by Dr. Svetoslava Todorova from Syracuse University, who taught them about the water quality of Onondaga Lake.
“Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how they are the future scientists and engineers of our world,” said Miner. “This is a very hands-on approach to getting students to realize the career opportunities they have in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. We invite and encourage youth to use these lessons to help us solve environmental issues in the future and make our community a better, healthier place to live.”
The students reunited one last time during Honeywell Discovery Day on July 18, to discuss scientific findings from their exploration of the Onondaga Lake watershed. The students were joined by family members, teachers, and Mahoney as they presented reports on their observations and findings.
“It’s important to our whole world that our young people learn about science, math, and technology,” said Mahoney. “Jobs in those fields are increasing at five times the rate that other jobs are created.”
Created by the MOST, Honeywell Summer Science Weekprovides unique learning opportunities to help excite and inspire a new generation of scientists in Central New York. Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST is sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Honeywell’s corporate citizenship initiative. It is part of Honeywell’s overall initiative to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (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; and Habitat & Conservation.
MOST Exhibits Project Manager Dr. Peter Plumley said, “Through Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST, students are able to sample and test environments right here in Central New York. The program continues to encourage interest in the environment and helps prepare these young scientists to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
“I hope that the lessons you’ve learned at Honeywell Summer Science Week at the MOST have inspired you to become environmental stewards in your community and that you’ll share these lessons with your classmates and family members,” said Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe. “You have had the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom, and we hope you will continue to study science, technology, engineering, and math.”
Throughout the week, students participated in a combination of activities at the MOST and various field locations, while learning an interdisciplinary approach to investigation, discovery, and resolution of environmental issues facing Onondaga County. Field activities included collecting water samples throughout the Tully Valley and the Onondaga Lake watershed, touring Onondaga Lake, and exploring Clark Reservation, Onondaga Creek, and Nine Mile Creek. Students learned from scientists and engineers about the watershed and environmental sciences.
Students also got their hands dirty as they helped to restore the Geddes Brook wetlands. They planted native shrubs and plants, and learned from habitat experts from the Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, Parsons, and Honeywell about wetlands and their importance in supporting the Onondaga Lake watershed and its value as an Important Bird Area.
Summer Science Week activities also included visits to Heiberg Memorial Forest, Syracuse University, and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).
At the conclusion of Honeywell Discovery Day, the student-scientists received completion certificates and became “MOST Associates.” The title of “MOST Associate” grants each student a one-year museum pass.
Local organizations participating as workshop presenters included the Montezuma Audubon Center, the U.S. Geological Survey, SUNY-ESF, and the 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.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.lakecleanup.com.