News From Masters

Seventh Graders Learn about Hudson Health & More
Posted 06/01/2018 09:00AM

Seventh graders learned about the Hudson River's water quality and more during a field trip to two science centers in Yonkers, NY on May 24.

"The purpose of the trip was to provide students with a hands-on, deep dive into environmental science issues right in their own backyard: the Hudson River," says Middle School science teacher Perry Dripps.

The group's first stop was at the Center for the Urban River at Beczak, where students tested water quality parameters and soil core samples to determine the overall health of the Hudson. They then visited the Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge, which is next to the Center.

At the Science Barge, the students "gained an understanding of their food footprint by calculating 'food miles' for various foods and how to develop a more sustainable food system in an urban setting," Mr. Dripps says.

In the food miles activity, the students were each given a different meal that they might eat in a typical day to focus on. They then had to calculate how far the food ingredients had to travel to get to their plates here in New York and what the total miles were for the entire meal. For example, one student had potato chips, which use significantly more food miles than, for example, local and unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

"The reason for this is because the potatoes are usually grown in Idaho, then shipped to a processing center that is far away from the growing site, and are only then finally flown and driven to a local grocery store," Mr. Dripps said. "Some food items, like red meat, also had a much larger impact because of all the resources they use — like water, fertilizer, feed, etc. —and each of those materials have their own footprint as well."

The take-home message from the activity was: "Eat local, eat in season, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and less processed foods, and eat less meat, especially animal products that require a lot of resources (water, feed, transportation)," said Mr. Dripps.

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