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Learning to preserve the environment

Photo of ecology students at Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste AuthorityOn the eve of Earth Day, April 21, Central Valley Academy Ecology classes and Ecology Club learned some new ways to help protect and preserve the environment when they toured the Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (OHSWA) and the Shawangunk Nature Preserve.

Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s mission is to preserve the environment through recovery and disposal through recycling, waste reduction and waste disposal. At OHSWA, students toured the facility to see how their household recyclables are processed and learned what kind of wastes can be safely disposed of. Students saw how yard waste from Herkimer and Oneida counties is turned into compost and learned a fun fact that it is available for sale to residents.

Photo of ecology students at Shawangunk Nature PreserveAt Shawangunk Nature Preserve students met Tim and Peggy Spencer Behrendt who started the preserve in the 1960’s on 3.5 acres of land in Cold Brook, NY. Over the years, piece by piece, they purchased surrounding land creating the 516 acre preserve it is today. The purpose of the Shawangunk Preserve is to preserve and protect the ecosystem and offer the public an educational center to learn about and appreciate nature.   Tim and Peggy live an “off the grid” lifestyle not relying on public utilities and following practices that foster minimal impact to the environment. Students toured houses, a library and a mediation lounge built out of reusable materials. The preserve is home to vegetable gardens, solar panels and composting toilets. Tim and Peggy spoke about sustainable living and minimalism which helps protect the environment.

The Ecology students ended the day understanding how many things can impact the environment and that small changes can help reduce the negative impact. “Both visits provided enlightening experiences about environmentalism,” said CVA science teacher Krista Harwick.

“These tours served as an enjoyable and appropriate celebration of Earth Day.”