Students pick up knowledge at Earth Day event

April 24, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Keisha Hornbaker learned that a blue jay will decapitate another bird if it gets in its way.

Andria Statler found out that hawks with long legs have short wings.

The Greencastle-Antrim High School students were among about 175 10th- through 12th-graders who participated Friday in a project commemorating Earth Day at Tayamentasachta, the district's environmental learning center.

The event was put together by science teachers Tara Clopper and Kerri Barnes with the help of Cheryl Shields of Waste Management of Central Pennsylvania. The company donated money for the project, Clopper said.

The theme of the day's activity was "All Living Things Are Connected," Clopper said.

Science students in grades 10 to 12 researched 10 topics dealing with environmental concerns, including recycling, wildlife preservation, land use, water resources, hazardous household waste, trees, native Pennsylvania species, organic farming, composting, and reducing and reusing waste.


"The science students researched their topics for about a month and a half," Barnes said. They produced videos on what they had learned and showed them over the in-school system, she said.

Clint Castelara, a junior, became well versed in the dangers of using common, but toxic, cleaning agents in the home.

"We did research for about three weeks and experimented with different things, like vinegar and water," he said.

Melanie Bachtell, another junior, said she got "a reality check" on how much impact recycling has on reducing the amount of trash.

Experts on each of the 10 topics lectured the students, who rotated to each of the 10 stations.

Kevin Mountz, a state wildlife conservation officer, brought the bodies of 10 birds commonly found in the area to show the students. Those who stopped by his station were taught how to make simple bird feeders with a small dowel and empty two-liter plastic soda bottle.

Among other experts who manned stations were Antrim Township zoning officer Angie Garland, who spoke on land use; Jennifer Esser of Shippensburg University, who talked about water resources; George Hurd of the Franklin County Extension Office, who spoke about composting, and Shields, who lectured on recycling.

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