Day 4 – July 30, 2015

The last day of the workshop arrived quickly. The day was spent reflecting and applying our newly learned knowledge. We were provided time throughout the workshop to develop a lesson plan around bioenergy. Many people had the idea of using biophoto reactors. One idea was to use the biophoto reactor to grow algae to then feed it to goldfish within the classroom. This lesson would incorporate many standards and real life learning that includes bioenergy.

At the end of the workshop, we went on a field trip to USDA Big Flats Plant Materials Center. On the trip, we discussed many of the plants and methods the center uses. One of the main products used is switchgrass. Switchgrass can be preferred when making bioenergy and bioproducts because its volume is large, it’s versatile, grows in various soils, it has an extensive root system, and it is not invasive.

Using renewable energy in the classroom reengages student learning. We need to have students understand the impacts that we have on the environment and how we can make changes to help the situations. This workshop has my mind spinning and wondering what I can do in my own school and community. Can I start small with changing our school waste and recycling manners? Can I expand the ideas to the rest of the community? Can I use the agriculture around my home to produce bioproducts and to reduce negative emissions and pollutants in the environment? Can I start a community garden to help promote sustainability?

All of these ideas plus many more can be started and we as educators need to plant the seed within our communities. From this conference, I realize that I can change so many things in my lifestyle to being more environmentally friendly. Before hand, I didn’t think about it as often as I should have or I didn’t act upon the knowledge. My hope is to expose other people to start making a difference, even if it is one tiny seed at a time.

by Katie Vann
Reading Specialist and WEDC Instructor