South Plantation High School Students Dedicated to "Green"

Created: 3/20/2012 11:06:21 AM Updated: 12:00:00 AM

Over the last 10 years, the students of South Plantation High School’s Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet program have shown a special commitment to supporting “green” efforts. The program provides opportunities for the 530 students to participate in curricular and extracurricular activities that are designed to help them to become stewards of the environment.

President Obama's principal environmental advisor and chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley expressed interest in the award-winning program. She recently toured the school to see how it conserves energy with a 5K solar array, a solar powered irrigation system, and a retrofit air conditioning system and to learn more about the environmental magnet curriculum.

The conservation efforts of the students in the South Plantation High magnet program begin with activities in the classroom and expand after school hours with five clubs that enhance students’ community outreach: Aquarium, Plant a Fish, Solar Knights, ER (Everglades Restoration) Ambassadors and Fairchild.

The ER Ambassadors travel to elementary schools to promote water conservation and environmental protection. Last summer, the Solar Knights won the advanced category in the national Solar Car Race in Dallas. For the past four consecutive years, the Fairchild Challenge team has won its environmental competition, beating teams from Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Students also operate a major recycling program where they collect paper, tin cans, cell phones, plastic bottles, eyeglasses and ink cartridges on a regular basis. They have even recycled blue jeans for others.

The eco-friendly club members participate in the Adopt-a-Street program by cleaning the street in front of the South Plantation High campus every month. Limnology (the study of inland waters) students and members of the Aquarium Club build and maintain over 40 fish and reptile tanks in the classrooms. Outside of school, they also participate in beach and waterway cleanups. “You really learn to appreciate the beauty of nature when you are a part of it,” said Limnology student, Haley Harris.

At the end of the school year, the students in the program present a senior project to showcase what they have learned in the program, but the “green” efforts do not end there. “My Senior Project class is Zoology, and I absolutely love it,” said student Ashlyn Valdes. “Wanting to major in Zoology and Wildlife Biology/Conservation- this class is a perfect prep class for college.”

Many of the students continue their passion for the environment at universities after completing the Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet program, majoring in environmental science or public service fields.

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