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Students, Speakers Bring Attention to the Environment
Massapequa High School hosted a full-day environmental conference on Feb. 27 featuring expert speakers and information booths. All Things Environmental was coordinated by students from Team ECHO and their adviser, Bob Hempel.
Team ECHO – Environmental Conservation at Home – is a student-led club that aims to increase awareness about the environment and take practical steps to improve the community and the planet. Past initiatives have included school campus and beach cleanups as well as tree plantings.
The yearly environmental day has grown each year since its inception and this year’s event featured several speakers including Erich Dietterle from the Long Island-based Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. He spoke about his organization’s efforts to promote marine conservation through action and educated students about the sea turtles and marine mammals in New York’s waters that the society strives to protect.
Christopher Mayer from the Town of Oyster Bay’s Department of Environmental Resources spoke about shellfish restoration efforts. Sally Kellogg and Rachelle Neville, from the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve, discussed horseshoe crabs. Massapequa High School graduate Joseph Prusan, the valedictorian of the Class of 2016, participated in a video conference with students about his hydroponics research at UCLA.
Students from Massapequa’s science research program who are have environmental-focused projects shared their work at an information session in the lobby. Teacher Dr. Paul Hesleitner said that the students have been conducting extensive research to try to provide real solutions to environmental issues.
Seniors Sean Nuzio and Theodore Woodworth discussed their efforts to make dye-sensitized solar cells. The transparent solar panels would be put on windows without blocking a person’s view. The materials they are using for the prototype include conductive glass, a carbon steel frame, pomegranate juice, titanium oxide and silicon.
Talia Cartafalsa, Gabrielle Marsico and Victoria Marsico are studying the occurrences of lung cancer on Long Island and New York State and making correlations to known toxic sites. Adriana Zanone is working on a way to generate power from walking, creating enough energy to recharge a cell phone.
Teacher Michael LaBella and students from the high school’s Go Green class shared information about the third-year course, which is focused on sustainable living.