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Johnsburg and Minerva students enjoy field trip and presentation to learn about wind energy

NORTH RIVER Science, technology, community education, and a venerable local business combined to make a beautiful fall day a perfect learning experience. Jim McAndrew of Barton Mines, project Manager for Adirondack Wind Energy Park, introduced nine Johnsburg environmental science students and four math, science, and technology students from Minerva to the work behind the Adirondack Wind Energy Park project proposal for the Barton Mines Companys Gore Mountain property. McAndrew spoke to the students at JCS learning about wind power and the impact on carbon dioxide emissions. Information concerning the New York power grid, wind power generation and APA permitting procedures gave the students a thorough background. The cooperative venture then drove to the Barton Mines site where McAndrew led the two classes on an informative tour of the proposed project area. A large 3-D model was used to pinpoint the proposed wind turbine locations, and discuss the wind flow around the Barton-Gore Mt. environment. The classes were touring on a day during which the wind energy park project sponsors were conducting their own scientific research concerning the visibility of the wind turbines. Three large helium balloons were set flying to approximate wind turbine heights above the ground as an aid in defining the locations from which views of the wind park would be possible. Also in evidence at the site was a radar equipment trailer used to count and categorize bird and bat activity and a meteorological mast used to record wind speed and direction. Mr. Wilsons environmental science class is involved in a habitat study at the Barton Site through the Adirondack Curriculum Project. Mr. Hodgsons Math, Science, and Technology class is working with GIS software and handheld GPS monitors to create maps. Minerva students John Cavanaugh, Meghan LeVeille, Kendra Howe, and Eathen Galusha participated. They worked with Johnsburg students DJ Gardinier, Margaret Welz, Sam Shook, Shelby Powell, Josh Harvey, Adrian Veldman, Brittany Henry, Stephen Sherrick, and Chelsea Smith to locate the proposed wind turbine sites. The Johnsburg students started collecting wildlife habitat data at each of these sites. Whenever you can get students out in the environment and practically apply what theyve learned in the classroom, learning is enhanced, Johnsburgs Wilson said. What I was hoping for this trip was that we could visit a site that we had visited remotely through our maps and take additional GPS readings to determine the accuracy of our maps, Minervas Hodgson said. I was also hoping that the students would see a real-world practical application of the technologies that we were using in class. It is so important to show these students that there are people with good jobs doing what they are doing in this class and that they can pursue quality careers right in their own backyard. Our development partnership is committed to using our project as an opportunity for public education about the impacts of our energy choices on the environment, wind project manager, Jim McAndrew, said. Students now entering the adult world have an especially large stake in the energy choices we make today as they will live longest with the consequences. All of our energy options have some impacts but we believe there is a compelling case that wind energy at our proposed site is a more benign choice than others and will help provide a sustainable energy solution for our region.

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