Students Explore in Summer Science Academy

Students Explore in Summer Science Academy

     MVSD’s Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) Summer Science Academy provided students with the chance to explore, discover, understand and enterprise during the 10 day program led by Dr. Richard Shope, President of World Space Foundation.  The students hosted an open house on the last day where they shared highlights of their learning including photography and making cyanotypes; microscopy and making slides; operating solar telescopes, making paper, experimenting with the chemistry of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid, landscaping, designing and planting a native species garden, creating an EcoResilience Preserve, and forming an EcoRangers Club. 

      MVSD Board of Education members, family members and members of Amigos de los Rios were on hand to hear and see the exciting learning that took place during the 10-day academy. With the program’s strong focus on EcoResilience, the enthusiastic young scientists were proud to show off a garden they designed in the Madrid Nature and Exercise Trail area on Madrid Middle School’s campus, which is part of Amigos de los Rios’ Emerald Necklace.  Through extensive research students found drought resistant plants and flowers that attract Monarch Butterflies and other butterfly species, as well as flowers for bees to get nectar.  After researching the best layout and design for a garden, factoring in temperature, sun exposure, and radiant energy, they planted their seeds and plants.  Current and future Madrid Middle School students in the program hope to create an EcoRangers Club at the school next year to maintain the garden and utilize the wonderful learning environment the park provides.  Members of Amigos de los Rios are thrilled with the work the students did and their passion for the environment.

     “This is a working laboratory,” said Claire Robinson, Managing Director of Amigos de los Rios.  “The Mountain View School District has been a leader in this initiative and the Madrid Nature area provides a great place for discovery, physical activity and mental improvement with its peacefulness.  We appreciate greatly Dr. Shope and the students for their great work and look forward to continuing to partner together to provide this wonderful space for the community.”

       In addition to the Milkweed, Ragweed, and Coyote Mint they planted, the students also made beautiful Origami butterflies to decorate the area. 

    “We designed the garden and chose the plants carefully because we wanted plants that attract butterflies and bees,” said Lena, a 6th grader.  “There is a decline in the number of butterflies because there are less and less Milkweed plants around,” she added.

     Board of Education president, Veronica Sifuentes was excited to hear about the project and glad to see the passion the students have for the environment.

      “You all have done a wonderful job during the summer academy and all your hard work will make a tremendous difference to this area,” said Sifuentes.  “We are so proud of your efforts and hope this experience may have inspired a career path that you might not have been aware of in the area of environmental science.  We are grateful to Amigos de los Rios for the partnership and to Dr. Shope for his leadership.”  

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