AP Environmental students conduct hands-on research, collaborate with community

on June 13, 2019
AP Environmental students and their teacher Jill Jeffrey.

M-W HS teacher Jill Jeffrey and her AP Environmental students conduct water analysis at Lake Walton.

The AP Environmental class led by teacher Jill Jeffrey started at Monroe-Woodbury High School in the 2016  school year. At the end of the first year, M-W Board of Education President Jon Huberth brought the school’s attention to the Moodna Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council small grant program, which encourages educational experiences for students. M-W applied last year and received funding for supplies permitting the class to perform various water tests on Walton Lake during the fall and spring. The class then compiled a comparison study for Walton lake based on the students’ results.

Students conduct water analysis at Lake Walton.The AP Environmental class received another grant this year and continued the water analysis. We added Earl Reservoir and changed to just a spring comparison of the two lakes. The students presented their preliminary findings to the Moodna Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council in April 2019 and will present their final paper to the Council in July 2019. Students volunteer to do the presentations and really enjoy doing it!

The following tests were performed: Total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate concentration, phosphate concentration, salinity, and coliform bacteria test.

Although these are preliminary studies that still need further investigation, the students concluded from their results that both locations appear to be healthy bodies of water.

“We will be re-applying for the grant to continue the research, hopefully expand the testing locations and continue to inspire students to be interested in the environment. The students were given the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and have really appreciated all the help provided by environmentalist Andy Lawrence and the Council members,” said Jill Jeffrey, M-W High School teacher.

A student conducts water analysis at Lake Walton.Only after three years since the class has been established, three M-W students have selected to further their education and attend ESF – NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In addition, the high school will be forming a science club with the emphasis on environmental issues.

“This is a perfect example of our local community and school district getting together to expand student opportunities. Andy Lawrence is a local environmentalist and was the driving force behind making this happen. Hands-on education outside the traditional classroom can really spark curiosity, and involvement like Andy’s is so appreciated,” said Jon Huberth, M-W Board of Education president.