Posted April 19, 2016

Students become teachers at EarthFest 2016

Local high school students will display a record 32 exhibits at the annual event on the Temple Ambler campus.

An exhibitor at Temple EarthFest 2015 talking to children about his project.
Photography By: 
Betsy Manning
Students from local high schools will showcase their projects, which tackle topics such as the study of climate change and recycling to tree planting and watershed cleanup, at EarthFest 2016.

A dedicated group of scientists is hard at work seeking viable solutions to water contamination removal and oil spill containment and remediation—vital environmental issues that impact everything from animal habitats to the fishing industry to potable drinking water.

What makes this particular group of scientists stand out is that they happen to be 10th and 11th grade chemistry students at Central High School in Philadelphia.

“Our students have been working in small groups conducting on-going chemical and water quality research to gain a better understanding of pollutants in our drinking water, as well as the contaminants that affect our environment and ecosystems,” said Central High School chemistry teacher Van Truong.

The students’ research efforts will be on display at EarthFest 2016 on Friday, April 22—Earth Day—at Temple University Ambler. Central High School will share 10 exhibits related to their study topic “Water Pollution: An Introduction to Causes, Effects and Solutions.” And they will not be alone. A variety of schools throughout the region will showcase a record 32 student exhibits at this year’s event.

Since Temple’s first EarthFest in 2003, local schools have been given the opportunity to share their own exhibits, exploring concepts as diverse as the study of climate change and recycling to tree planting and watershed cleanup.

“There are so many students doing incredible things at a grassroots level that, each year, we want to take the opportunity to recognize their achievements,” said EarthFest 2016 Coordinator Susan Spinella Sacks, CLA ’01, TYL ’04. “While we are able to bring a diverse group of students, educators and exhibitors together each year to celebrate a common cause, students at schools throughout the region are teaching their peers—and in many cases their parents—how they can ensure sustainable communities for today and tomorrow.”

At Upper Dublin High School, EarthFest has become part of the 10th grade Environmental Science curriculum. Students have the opportunity to present an exhibit at EarthFest as an independent or group project, according to environmental science teacher Lisa Fantini. Upper Dublin students will present eight exhibits on topics ranging from building a hydroelectric generator to renewable and nonrenewable energy.

“It has been a great experience for the Upper Dublin students to understand what preparation and education is needed for a public event like EarthFest,” Fantini said. “My hope is that the visitors our students talk to want to learn more about the topics they see.”

Learn more about EarthFest 2016