Long Island’s middle school students are being invited to design projects to help reduce nitrogen pollution on their local school grounds.
The effort is part of a new STEM competition called the Long Island Water Quality Challenge, which was created by the Long Island Regional Planning Council. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
The competition is intended to help combat excess nitrogen from aging residential septic systems, fertilizer and stormwater runoff that has deteriorated surface and groundwater quality on Long Island, council officials said.
The contest originated from the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan — a multiyear effort implemented by the planning council, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“We’re looking at ways to address the nitrogen problems on Long Island, while also educating our young people on the benefits of a STEM career,” said John Cameron, who chairs the planning council.
The challenge asks teams to examine one of two categories: “Low Input Landscaping on School Grounds” or “Stormwater Treatment on School Grounds.” The first category asks them to identify ways to reduce use of fertilizers, pesticides and overwatering by choosing different landscape designs and plant varieties, while the second category asks them to design projects to collect and treat runoff.
Teams can submit a letter of interest through lirpc.org by April 10. They will present their projects to a panel of experts in spring 2020.
A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School placed first this month among 34 middle school teams in the 2019 Eastern Long Island Regional Science Olympiad. The team will advance to the state tournament in East Syracuse on Friday and Saturday.
The regional competition, held at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills, challenged teams of up to 15 students to vie in written and hands-on events, with topics ranging from fossils to herpetology to thermodynamics.
Other teams that qualified for the state tournament are from R.C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook, Hauppauge Middle School, Islip Middle School and Port Jefferson Middle School.
Read Across America
Many local schools hosted reading-themed activities this month for the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which coincided with Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
In Centerport, Washington Drive Primary School celebrated a different Dr. Seuss book daily from March 4 to March 8. Students also dressed according to the book, wearing a favorite hat for “The Cat in the Hat” and crazy socks for “Fox in Socks.”
In Bayport, fourth-graders in Ursula Camenzuli’s class at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School read with Erin Miller’s first-grade class during a “book buddies” program using Dr. Seuss books.
In Coram, kindergartners brought blankets from home, gathered in unlit hallways and used flashlights to read at Coram Elementary School.
‘Go APE’ Awards
Eight Long Island students received Awards of Excellence this month at the Art League of Long Island’s 12th Annual “Go APE” Advanced Placement Student Exhibition, which featured artwork by 140 students from 40 local high schools.
Winners and their high schools were: Sydney Carpenter, Bay Shore; Amanda Rigby and Michelle Zheng, Bethpage; Remsha Arif, Floral Park; Ava Herrera, Sayville; Jiayi Huo, Syosset; and Kailee Finn and Caroline Latortue, Valley Stream Central.
“The artwork in the gallery that springs from such creative minds makes you stop and catch your breath,” said Charlee Miller, the league’s executive director. “It’s gratifying to see the next generation carry the torch forward.”
The exhibit was on view at the league’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery in Dix Hills from Feb. 15 through March 3.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect time frame for when teams participating in the Water Quality Challenge will present their projects to a panel of experts.