Sustainability on the Hudson

With a break from the April showers, seniors in Ms. Ruby Disko and Ms. Ann Heffernan’s Physics/Applied Engineering and Ecology classes spent Monday, April 14 out on the river. On their field trip to the Science Barge these students were treated to a closer look at this sustainable urban farm floating on the Hudson River. The barge offered several activities on board that were centered on different types of sustainable energy and methods of food production.

The entire group took a tour of the barge which featured several conservation examples that the people at Groundwork would like to someday see used throughout the city. The main endeavor on the barge was hydroponic farming, an efficient way to grow vegetables with little waste. From there the students learned how to manage the little waste that is created via recycling methods and water recycling techniques.

The ecology class, which has been learning about the relationships between organisms and their environment, are just wrapping up a unit on global warming. Their newfound knowledge on the subject was put to the test during the discussions on how burning fossil fuels contributes to the global climate change which affects food production, health, and the environment. In a demonstration using a propane lighter and an aeolipile students were shown how fuels are burned to boil water in order to spin steam-powered generators.







The students from the physics class, having just begun a unit on renewable energy were excited to learn more about electricity as well as the history and evolution of energy production. This trip provided visual and hands on examples of the different types of energy available, one of which was a bike that powered 4 lightbulbs. They found that the LED lightbulbs lit with ease but it was difficult to get more than 2 incandescent bulbs lit when they pedaled.

After lunch, students were even instructed in how to properly recycle their own food packaging and given suggestions on how to cut down on what they did have. In the end, it was a lesson that these students will hopefully recall and put into practice everywhere they go.