During the Fourth Annual Finger Lakes Institute Science Fair at HWS, 11 groups from four area schools presented their original research on topics relating to the Finger Lakes environment and watersheds, including water quality of lakes and tributaries, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, and animal habitat preferences. Hosted by the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI), the Science Fair took place May 30 in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.
Modeled after a professional science conference, the science fair provides participating students the chance to present their research in a poster session and compete for multiple monetary prizes. The prizes this year were provided by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Water Environment Association Inc. (NYWEA) and ITT Goulds Pumps.
Winners were awarded in both middle school and high school divisions. At the middle school division, first place winners were Anna Lamb, Grace Hainsworth and Heidi Phelps, students in Randy French’s seventh grade class at Geneseo Middle School, who presented “Where Would Animals Prefer to be Pond or Stream?” Second place was presented to Hannah Fiorella, Alyda Timmons and Haley Farrands, of Amy Gilbert’s East Irondequoit Middle School science class. Their presentation was “How Does the Size of a Riparian Buffer Affect Macroinvertebrate Population?”
First place in the high school division was presented to Noah Brigham, a student in Holly Stekl’s fish and wildlife class at Romulus Central School, whose work was titled, “Invasive Species in New York State Forests Based on Human Impact.” With classmates Laurena Jensen and Jenny Tompkins, Brigham also won second place for “Stream Sampling Results: Tributaries of Seneca vs. Cayuga Lakes.”
Winners were selected by guest judges from the NYWEA Karis Manning, environmental engineer with the NYSDEC Region 8, Division of Water, and John Berry, deputy commissioner of public works for Ontario County; as well as Sarah Meyer, community outreach coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute and Adam Maurer, sustainability manager at HWS.
“All the students participating in the FLI Science Fair did an excellent job presenting their research and should feel very proud of the work they’ve done,” shares FLI Education Program Manager Nadia Harvieux, who coordinated the event. “Their teachers also deserve a lot of credit for taking the time to ensure that their students had the opportunity to participate in this event.”
In addition to French, Stekl, and Gilbert, Ann Smith of South Seneca High School brought her students to the fair.
“We really want to encourage students at the middle and high school levels to think about a future in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers,” says Lisa Cleckner, director of the FLI. “The science fair is a great way to get students who are already interested in science to explore an environmental topic related to the Finger Lakes region at a deeper level. It is a great opportunity for these budding young scientists and we couldn’t be more proud to host this event.”
The Fifth Annual Finger Lakes Institute Science Fair at HWS will be held on Friday, May 29, 2015.