OSWEGO — Central Square’s Paul V. Moore High School has launched a hydroponics project supported by its prize from last year’s Oswego County GENIUS Olympiad, just as it and other high schools prepare to enter the second annual competition, set for Earth Day on April 22 at SUNY Oswego.
Online registration deadline for the environmental-science competition organized by the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations is March 17.
The competition is open to all Oswego County students in grades 9 through 12.
“At least one group of students I know is planning to enter this year,” said Audrey Sauer, science chair at Central Square. She plans to encourage other budding researchers to enter.
Sauer expressed her admiration for Paul V. Moore High School student Parker Wells, whose project, “The Onondaga Lake Watershed,” won the inaugural Oswego County GENIUS (Global Environmental Issues — United States) Olympiad last year.
The $2,000 first prize went to the Central Square School District, and Sauer and her department have drawn on it to construct and supply a set of hydroponic gardens built by the school’s technology department.
The first experiment in hydroponics — growing plants without soil — features cilantro, onion and sage.
“We will do plant studies through the rest of the school year and beyond,” Sauer said. “The three hydro units are movable and can go right into the classroom.”
The Oswego County competition is in conjunction with SUNY Oswego’s GENIUS Olympiad, in its fourth year as a premier environmental competition for high school students from around the world interested in science, art, photography, creative writing, design and music. The winner at the Oswego County level receives an automatic invitation to the global competition, as Wells did.
Tammy Elowsky, assistant director of SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations, said that for years, Oswego County high school students needed to travel to Onondaga or other counties to compete in science fairs. She spoke of a new partnership that will provide added benefit to those entering and attending the April 22 competition.
“We are partnering with the college’s sustainability coordinators,” Elowsky said. “They are going to bring fun and value-added exhibits and information to Earth Day and our Oswego County GENIUS competitors.”
Elowsky said high school students would display their posters and demonstrations along the corridor that connects the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation with the adjacent School of Education buildings, Wilber and Park halls. The college’s sustainability exhibits will join them.
Jamie Adams, sustainability coordinator, and Michael Lotito, sustainability engineer, said they intend to engage the competitors and interested campus and community members with Earth Day displays that will include stationery bicycles generating electricity.
The Oswego City School District and the Oswego Children’s Museum each will receive one of the bikes.
Another display will feature “upcycled” products — items that formerly might have been discarded but which have been converted to other uses.
For more information on Oswego County GENIUS, visit the left-hand column of the college’s civic engagement web page at oswego.edu/civic, email [email protected] or call Elowsky at 315-312-3492.