Five Staples High School students joined other area high school students this summer in a real-world science project as part of the Harbor Watch/River Watch internship program at Earthplace, Westport's nature discovery center.
Tom Wippick, Becky Watson, Perri Moeller, Jack Ambross and Sam Hickock were among 53 high school interns who gained hands-on experience testing and collecting data.
"Thank you so much for the opportunity you allowed my group members and me in June," wrote Moeller in a letter to Earthplace. "I know I speak for all of us when I say that it was one of the best educational opportunities any of us received and we had a blast and learned a lot. I hope that we Staples High School students helped to further our school's good reputation."
The students were assigned a problem area and then worked in teams to perform research, analyze the data and present findings at a local Water Quality Symposium. Local [and/or municipal] health and conservation departments attend the symposium to learn about the students' findings.
The data students collect is turned over to local, state and federal government organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and local Health and Conservation Departments and Commissions.
"This is a great program for the students at Earthplace and for HW/RW. We provide scientific training, a preparation for sciences at the college level, and the use of our equipment, while keeping them engaged in learning," said Peter Fraboni, associate director and senior naturalist at Earthplace. "In return, they provide us with an enthusiastic source of manpower that allows us to expand research of particular watersheds, identify problem areas, and report results."
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